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Linux supercomputing strength is generic and communityJay Lyman, June 2, 2010 @ 7:32 pm ET
One thing that is striking in the latest list is the dominance of generic Linux, which reportedly accounts for more than 80% of the world’s fastest supercomputing systems. Combined with named Linux distributions, primarily Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux, Linux accounts for 91% of these HPC systems. The Linux share of the Top500 list is even greater considering another 3% or more of systems that are mixed-OS, mostly with some form of Linux.
Another interesting highlight of the latest Top500 Supercomputer list is that use of community Linux is a significant factor here. We’ve covered unpaid, community Linux use in the enterprise for some time now, and we continue to see its impact on enterprise IT and as we see with the Top500 list, supercomputing. Similar to how we have seen community Linux grow in the enterprise, the impetus in HPC is as much about capability as it is about cost. These organizations have the teams and talent — and increasingly everybody has somebody who knows or has experience with effectively using Linux and open source software — to take advantage of Linux, whether building their own clusters for modeling and simulation, running or even providing virtual appliances and applications or building public, private or hybrid cloud computing architectures. Underlying that community Linux use, even in HPC, is a strong and growing presence on the list of one particular Linux that has been at the crux of increased consideration, use, support and profile of unpaid community Linux: CentOS. The unpaid, unsponsored (at least by any official company or even organization) clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux managed 1.4% with 7 supercomputing sites on the latest list, all this despite being declared dead last summer before developers got it back on track. CentOS is no doubt a part of the 81% of generic Linux used for these supercomputing systems, as well.
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