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SDSC to Offer High-Performance Computing Clusters Using NPACI Rocks Clustering Toolkit as Web Freeware with Compaq ProLiant Servers

Technologies Provide Powerful Commodity Supercomputers with an Open-Source, Easy-to-Use Clustering Operating Environment

Published 07/09/2001

SAN DIEGO, July 9, 2001 - The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, today announced they are participating in an initiative to provide an industry-standard, high-performance computing platform based on their easy-to-use open-source NPACI Rocks Clustering Toolkit, running on market leading Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) ProLiantä industry-standard servers.

This solution will enable the easy and confident deployment of high-performance clusters for Linux environments using Compaq ProLiant servers and NPACI Rocks high-performance cluster management software with advanced recovery capability for cluster node failures. These high-performance computing clusters will provide a stable, supported, standardized platform for the academic, research, and technical markets as well as for the increasing demands from financial, multimedia, and data-serving markets.

SDSC and partners at the University of California, Berkeley, have created the NPACI Rocks environment (, based on the Red Hatä 7.1 version of the popular Linux operating system, specifically for clustering to enable the installation, configuration, and optimization of clustered Compaq ProLiant servers. Compaq customers can expect a tested and integrated solution for high-performance computing needs with increased performance, streamlined administration, and simplified scalability for Linux Beowulf environments.

"Compaq is committed to developing strong relationships with key industry players, such as SDSC, to provide customers innovative products that help them reduce the complexity in their IT environments and create business value," said Gary Campbell, vice president of enterprise server strategy for the office of the CTO, Compaq. "Together with SDSC we continue to deliver jointly tested, integrated and optimized ProLiant server clusters. Compaq's integrated solutions, based on the market-leading ProLiant servers, will accelerate the deployment of Beowulf cluster applications to address the ever increasing processing demands of research and technical markets."

SDSC has been working closely with Compaq to develop a relationship that delivers cost-effective, manageable and scalable solutions for customers using the Beowulf-style of cluster computing. These solutions, including NPACI Rocks, are designed to reduce the requirement for on-site technical support while handling many of the traditional problems associated with Beowulf systems.

"The Rocks software allows us to transfer SDSC's 16 years' experience operating the world's most powerful computing environments to groups interested in managing their own Linux clusters," said Fran Berman, director of SDSC and NPACI. "The impact to discoveries in science and advances in other computationally demanding areas will be dramatic as even more research is conducted on locally managed high-performance resources. This transfer of expertise through partnership with Compaq is an important example of how NSF support for development of information technology yields significant scientific and economic benefit."

The NPACI Rocks management software from SDSC adds functionality to the base Linux distribution without specific kernel hooks. This general approach allows Rocks to handle the natural evolution of Linux updates more effectively than other offerings in the marketplace. The Rocks Toolkit provides a stable, standard, supported platform for the deployment of advanced clustering applications. It enhances the Linux cluster environment with features that allow users to start, observe, and control processes on cluster nodes from the cluster's front-end computer while supporting standard Linux interfaces and tools. The result is a stable and extensible environment that appeals to both end users and software developers.

"Rocks is designed to support a wide variety of hardware by leveraging an enormous wealth of open-source tools and a market-leading Linux distribution," said Phil Papadopoulos of SDSC, leader of the NPACI Rocks development effort. "It adds to the base Red Hat distribution with techniques and software to make Linux clusters easy to deploy and maintain because it retains RedHatÕs familiar installation and de facto standard RPM packaging tool. WeÕre working with Compaq because of their deep expertise in computer health management, solid hardware platforms, and responsiveness to market needs."

SDSC ( is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego, and the leading-edge site of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) ( As a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, SDSC is funded by the National Science Foundation through NPACI and other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations. For additional information about SDSC and NPACI, contact David Hart,, 858-534-8314.

David Hart, SDSC, 858-534-8314,