Intel purchases Lustre purveyor Whamcloud

Lustre may play a pivotal role in Intel's vision of exascale computing

Fortifying its resources for the high-performance computing (HPC) market, Intel has purchased Whamcloud, a commercial purveyor of the open-source Lustre file system. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Intel plans to use Whamcloud's expertise in HPC to boost its own work in the still-nascent field of exascale computing, according to Brent Gorda, who was the former CEO of Whamcloud and now is general manager of Intel's high-performance data division.

Intel already has a significant presence in the U.S. market. Intel processors powered more than 74 percent of the world's 500 most powerful computers, according to the most recent Top500.org ranking.

Whamcloud is one of the chief supporters of Lustre, a massively parallel file system used in many of the world's top supercomputers.

The company was founded in 2010 by a number of Lustre developers shortly after Oracle completed its purchase of Sun Microsystems, which then maintained Lustre code base, a technology first developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Whamcloud focused on commercially supporting x86 Lustre deployments, and capitalized on Oracle's seeming hesitancy in offering a road map for the technology. Oracle continues to commercially support Lustre as well.

Intel has been a big proponent of exascale computing, an effort to build computers more powerful than today's top supercomputers by three orders of magnitude or more. Last month, Intel launched a family of co-processors, called Xeon Phi, that it said could be used in exaflop-speed computers. And last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Intel Federal, an Intel subsidiary, two subcontracts worth $19 million, to participate in the DOE's exascale-focused Extreme-Scale Computing Research and Development "FastForward" program.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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