Sunday, June 16, 2024

Intel Acquires Whamcloud for Supercomputing Scale

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Intel is taking another step forward toward scaling up for the needs of supercomputing infrastructure. The chipmaker has acquired open source startup Whamcloud. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Whamcloud is the leading proponent of the open source Lustre parallel distributed filesystem, which is widely used in supercomputing infrastructure.

“The Whamcloud acquisition extends Intel’s software and service portfolio in the high performance computing space in addition to reinforcing Intel’s position in the open source community,” Brent Gorda, former CEO of Whamcloud, said in a statement. “Working as one company, we are now in a stronger position to advance our mutual goals and continue providing vendor neutral solutions, delivering greater value to our customers, and moving the industry to exascale performance.”

Gorda has now moved over to Intel and has the new job title of General Manager for Intel’s High Performance Data Division.

Lustre got its start as a research effort led by Cluster File Systems, a company that was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2007. With Oracle’s acquisition of Sun in 2010, Oracle took over leadership of the effort. Oracle, however, didn’t show all that much interest in pushing Lustre forward, which is what helped to give birth to Whamcloud in 2010.

Whamcloud from its inception was working with the U.S. Department of Energy in supporting Lustre on supercomputing infrastructure at Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge U.S. National Laboratories. Lustre is one of the key components that enables supercomputers at those locations to operate at scale.

Earlier this month, Whamcloud was awarded the Storage and I/O Research and Development subcontract for a major Department of Energy program, known as FastForward. Other participants in the FastForward contarct include EMC and Cray.

“Whamcloud has the world’s best file system team,” Gorda said at the time of the announcement. “Being chosen to lead this consortium in researching exascale issues is a real honor for the entire company.”

While Whamcloud has deep ties in the U.S, the company also has done work for other supercomputing nations as well. The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) uses Lustre on its 47,872 core Cray XE6 system, known as Monte Rosa.

For its part, Intel is no stranger to world of supercomputing. In the most recent Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, Intel dominated the list for powering the majority of systems worldwide.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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