Moab gets better throughput, support for GPUs

The software keeps track of processor temperature to lower power consumption

The latest version of Adaptive Computing's Moab software, which allows users to better utilize the computing capacity in a cluster, has improved throughput and GPU handling, the company announced and demonstrated at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg.

Adaptive Computing may not be a household name, but its software is used by supercomputers such as Jaguar and Roadrunner, and last year Intel invested in the company. Moab software enables applications to run more efficiently and improves the utilization of clusters in high-performance computing systems, data centers or by cloud providers.

It does this in a variety of ways, including allowing IT departments to set up policies and SLAs that decide which applications get first dibs on available capacity, and when they don't use it, something else can, according to Michael Jackson, president and chief operating officer at Adaptive Computing. Users can also reserve capacity during certain times, he said.

A template decides what an application needs in terms of, for example, memory to run at its best. When integrated with provisioning software it can also change the operating system running on a server. To improve efficiency, Moab can also be used to turn off servers that are not in use.

Version 6.1 is addressing one of the big trends in high-performance computing systems, the use of GPUs to improve performance in an energy-efficient way. Moab has been able to handle GPUs before, but has now added a number of features to make it easier to take advantage of the power they offer, according to Jackson.

For example, GPUs can now be automatically discovered. The system also knows more about the GPUs, including the amount of memory that is available and at what temperature the processor is running. The latter is good to know because it allows the system to send a job to a cold processor, which can help prevent the need for cooling to be activated and lower power consumption, Jackson said. The company can already do the same with regular processors.

Version 6.1 also improves performance of high demands on throughput in sectors such as life sciences, according to Jackson. The software can now handle 500,000 simultaneous jobs, for an improvement by a factor of 10, he said.

Adaptive Computing charges for its products using a subscription model and the software adds about 3 to 5 percent to the cost of a low-end server and between 1 to 2 percent to the cost of a high-end server, according to Jackson.

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