Clustering around Linux

Trying to capitalise on what it sees as a growing trend among both small and large companies, IBM on Monday unwrapped its first set of prepackaged Linux clusters for use on its PC-based line of Netfinity servers.

The IBM Solution Series for Linux Clusters are best-suited for those companies carrying out scientific or technical research as well as for those dot-coms that may need to rapidly scale their systems to meet unexpected business demand, company officials said. They think it is ideally designed for tasks involving the management of infrastructure workloads such as Web serving, e-mail, and file and print sharing.

"For the most part Linux clusters have been mostly homegrown affairs, with early adopters who have abundant in-house Linux skills [and] who string together systems from disparate parts," said Dave Turek, vice president of deep computing at IBM. "This introduction of ready-to-deploy clusters make it possible to bring Linux capabilities online faster and with more confidence."IBM officials said the new clusters, which are available in configurations of 8, 16, 32, and 64 nodes, will support versions of Linux from Caldera Systms, Red Hat, SuSE and TurboLinux.

Next week's announcement is the first in a series of Linux-based clustering announcements to be made over the next year, according to company officials.

They said key elements of IBM's RS/6000 SP cluster software, used in Deep Blue and ASCI White supercomputers, will be available for Linux sometime next year.

IBM plans to make rack-optimised Linux clusters built around its Power PC chip architecture available sometime next year.

The Linux clusters include Myrinet cluster interconnections, Extreme Networks Ethernet switches, and Equinox terminal servers. The IBM clusters also include consulting services from IBM Global Services as well as leasing options from IBM Global Financing.

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