Novell has just released some interesting deployment statistics for the HPC industry. Personally, I don’t usually categorize individual Linux distributions on the Top500, so this press release struck me as interesting. Apparently, Novell SUSE lives behind the consoles of 40% of the top 50 supercomputers [via the Top500 list]. They are also happy to point out that the top three machines wear the badge of the green lizard. BlueGene/L at LLNL, BlueGene/P at Juelich Research Center and SGI’s NMCAC ICE 8200 machine all run SUSE.
Stepping back from the marketing numbers, ask yourself who has standardized on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server platform? Namely Cray, SGI and IBM. Granted, SGI and IBM will most certainly sell subsets of their compute platforms with RedHat. That notwithstanding, the three top supercomputing vendors in the industry have essentially standardized on the same distribution. Why is this? [I’m really asking, because I don’t know].
At SGI, our focus is on high-performance computing and robust scalability, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the operating system of choice for many of our Altix and Altix XE customers. As the requirements for high-performance computing continue to grow more complex across industries, the collaboration between SGI and Novell ensures that SUSE Linux Enterprise will continue to be the leading operating system for high-performance clusters that meet those new business needs today,” says Irene Qualters, SGI’s senior VP of software.
Of course, this is not to say that RedHat doesn’t have its own market share of HPC. Several of the most popular cluster management stacks solely support RedHat-based distributions [usually due to their dependence on Anaconda]. The Rocks folks have certainly carved out an incredible niche of the cluster centric HPC industry.
Feel free to sound off in the comments over this subject. I wholly understand the technical, political and religious debate surrounding your operating system of choice. [This as I write this article from my OpenSUSE desktop]. In the mean time, read the full press release here.