SGI pushes Lustre FS with high-end support option

Technical computing specialist SGI has announced a new level of support for the Lustre open-source file system, bringing it up the same level as its own home-grown CXFS.

Lustre, named for a portmanteau of 'Linux' and 'Cluster,' was originally developed by Sun Microsystems and later taken over by Oracle when it acquired the company - only to be abandoned at the end of last year, with future development left open to the Lustre community.

Lustre was designed as a massively parallel distributed system for large-scale cluster computing, developed with the express intention of scaling out to tens of thousands of storage nodes and petabytes of capacity. Despite its abandonment by Oracle, the Lustre file system is still extremely popular in supercomputing circles - with half of the top 30 supercomputers in the world choosing to use the file system.

With SGI targeting the supercomputer and HPC markets, support for Lustre is a no-brainer - despite the company's desire to push customers towards its own CXFS scale-up clustered file system. While SGI has offered support for Lustre for some time, it lacked the highest grade - Level 3 - meaning that customers who wanted comprehensive support were pushed towards alternatives.

When SGI announced it would be joining OpenSFS, a non-profit organisation founded to further distributed file system technologies and a big supporter of the Lustre community, many thought the company could be changing its tune - and today's announcement confirms that Lustre is now supported on the same level as CXFS.

"Lustre is the clear choice of many of our customers who are deploying scale-out solutions built around SGI Altix ICE 8400 and SGI Rackable servers," SGI's Jose Reinoso explained in a press briefing. "By investing resources in expanding our support model similar to what we do for scale-up environments with CXFS, SGI now provides complete end-to-end coverage for Lustre clients, enhancing our offering and providing deeper solution support."

While SGI's Level 3 support doesn't come cheap, Lustre users often have deep pockets - SGI names oil and gas companies, large government departments, and NASA's Ames Research Centre as existing Lustre users who will be benefiting from increased support.

As the amount of data shuffled around increases, the requirement for high-performance petabyte-scale file systems like Lustre will increase - and SGI is clearly planning on being at the forefront of that expansion for both scale-up and scale-out implementations.