A blog for the enterprise open source community
The state of the supercomputer superpower – LinuxJay Lyman, November 19, 2009 @ 4:43 pm ET
There’s a new Top500 Supercomputers list out, and it still looks good for Linux. As we’ve seen in the past, Linux has maintained its fast-risen dominance of the list in the latest round, now claiming a role in all of the top 10 systems and more than 90% of the world’s 500 fastest, most powerful supercomputing sites.
On the latest list, released at the Supercomputing 2009 conference in Portland, Oregon, Linux continues strength and even growth, rising from 84.6% of the Top500 OS share in November 2007 to 87.8% in November 2008 and now to 89.2% in the latest, November 2009 Top500 Supercomputer list. The share for Linux goes up above 90% when considering mixed use with other operating systems. At the same time, the shares of Windows HPC and Unix remain relatively flat and other operating systems continue to drop off the list, with less share for BSD and no Mac OS X on the latest list. The other OS that did manage growth was the open source OpenSolaris, which doubled its share from one spot a year ago to two supercomputing sites on the latest Top500 list.
Cray finally managed to unseat IBM and take the top spot on the list with its XT5 supercomputer known as Jaguar (located at
Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility), which runs Linux. IBM nevertheless managed a strong showing in the top 10 with four sites, all running Linux. Sun Microsystems won the 9 and 10 positions with its Ranger and Red Sky systems, both of which run, you guessed it, Linux (actually CentOS for Red Sky). While there has been some shakeup in the processors used for these super systems — four PowerPC, three AMD and three Intel-based sites — and in geography, with representation from the U.S., Germany and China, the OS remains the same: Linux.
It seems the role reversal in the Top500 and HPC for Linux and Windows continues, with differentiation in hardware and more proprietary software coming in at the interconnect and other layers. Nevertheless, even Microsoft acknowledges the need for open source software and development as it seeks to broaden its reach to a more mainstream HPC market and to support mixed use of its Visual Studio development software alongside open source pieces for developers.
However, the overall HPC ecosystem continues to focus and rely heavily on Linux, following the lead of the Top500 sites and architects that are focused on the speed, scalability, flexibility and cost advantages of the open source OS.
Comments (5) Categories: Software