Platform targets enterprises with grid software update

LSF 7.0 rolled out this week

Platform Computing this week is rolling out LSF 7.0, an update to its grid software that makes it easier for organizations to manage and share resources across a single grid, the company says.

LSF 7.0 eases the process of managing and sharing grid resources by incorporating middleware called Enterprise Grid Orchestrator (EGO). Platform introduced EGO last year to let organizations consolidate disparate grids into a single pool of resources and then allocate computing power according to business policies.

Platform integrated the EGO middleware with its financial-services-focused Symphony grid software earlier this year. This is the first time LSF has used EGO, Platform executives say.

"We created [EGO] to allow companies to maximize the use of their resources throughout their entire organization, not just in a particular silo where an application is running," says Ashar Baig, product marketing manager at Platform. "With [EGO] you utilize all the resources throughout the enterprise regardless of what department or what project is using those resources."

With EGO, LSF customers running jobs in a grid environment now can set business rules and priorities to make more efficient use of their compute nodes. For example, available resources in one group could be temporarily loaned to another group, but EGO policies would ensure that the group loaning the resources would get them back when they need them.

Also with LSF 7.0, customers can expand the size of their grids. LSF 7.0 supports as many as 5,000 nodes, meaning that with dual- and quad-core processors it could reach 20,000 computing cores in a single cluster. Earlier versions of LSF could support no more than 5,000 cores.

That increases the amount of work the scheduling software can handle from 2 million jobs per day to 10 million per day with LSF 7.0, Baig says.

Other updates to the software include a new, easier-to-use Web graphical user interface that gives administrators real-time insight into how the grid is performing, what type of load each node is carrying and where problems are occurring. In addition, LSF 7.0 integrates with Microsoft Compute Cluster Scheduler.

Those updates in particular are geared more for smaller companies as Platform aims to expand its typical high-performance computing customer, Baig says.

"Grid is usually adopted by companies that are able to dedicate a full time staff to managing and running the grid," he says. "The small guys -- the small companies, the medium-sized companies -- that have eight, 10, 20, 30 nodes in a cluster can't afford to have a staff responsible only for the grid environment. Making the grid easier to manage will help bring grid mainstream."

Platform, whose customers include Boeing, DaimlerChrysler and the U.S. Navy, competes with vendors such as DataSynapse, Sun with its Sun Grid Engine and United Devices.

LSF 7.0 will be generally available at the end of November. Pricing, which varies depending on the configuration, will remain the same, Baig says.

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