Linux Networx Touts Lustre-Based Cluster Solution

By bundling Lustre with storage devices, management software and file systems, the company has created a storage appliance called Xilo, which allows organizations to pool capacity from separate storage devices into one resource.

The high-performance computing world now has a bundled solution based on Lustre, an open-source, high-performance file system that traditionally has been fairly difficult to configure and set up.

Linux Networx Inc., a Salt Lake City-based company known for its cluster computing systems, has created a storage appliance by bundling Lustre with a variety of storage devices, management software and file systems. The resulting appliance, called Xilo, allows organizations to pool capacity from separate storage devices into one resource, which in turn allows large files to be distributed across multiple storage devices, said Eric Pitcher, a vice president at Linux Networx.

"Lustre has historically been very capable but hard to configure," said Gordon Haff, senior analyst and IT advisor at Illuminata Inc., a Nashua, N.H.-based technology consultancy.

"By bundling this open-source software with hardware components and other software, it will presumably make it easier to configure than a roll-your-own solution."

The company is touting Xilos ability to scale significantly both in terms of throughput and capacity, allowing it to address performance and management issues traditionally associated with cluster storage.

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read about Sun Microsystems upgrades to its cluster software, click here.

Because Linux clusters tend to use a variety of disparate storage platforms to achieve shared storage, management often becomes a significant issue. And as clusters grow in size, scalability also becomes a significant challenge. Xilo addresses these issues head-on, Pitcher said.

The fact that Xilo was developed to work specifically with Linux Networx computing systems will lead to higher performance, productivity and efficiency, he said. Users also may find Xilo easy to manage because all storage devices are managed from one interface, he noted.

The bundled solution is a good idea because storage increasingly is becoming a more important part of high-performance computing configurations, Haff said.

"Even companies like Silicon Graphics and Apple are putting a fair amount of energy into storage these days," he said. "Most of these companies have storage as well as servers these days."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read about Apples storage future with its Xserve RAID unit and Xsan File System.

Linux Networx certainly isnt the first vendor to develop a solution around Lustre. Hewlett-Packard Co., in particular, has focused a great deal of attention on the open-source file system. But the move makes sense for Linux Networx, a second-tier company with big aspirations, Haff said.

In tandem with the Xilo announcement, Linux Networx announced that it had secured $40 million of equity financing to fund the companys expansion. The funding will allow it to introduce next-generation technologies in the cluster computing arena. It also will allow the company to expand into other markets in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

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