No VMware in HPC?

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It’s not just the absence of VMware, but virtualization in general. This technology has really changed the way that enterprise IT is implemented, but has had comparatively little impact on, or interest from, HPC.

Chris Willard writing at HPCwire’s blogs muses on why this might be, and comes up with a few examples where he feels virtualization might have a role in HPC in the future

“Development partitions” — System software/applications developers can designate a partition for code testing, which allows a free hand without interfering with a larger “production partition” running at the same time.

Certified applications partitions — …Certified applications codes may require specific versions of the O/S, libraries, etc. In cases where the certified environment differs from the current production environment separate partitions may be called for.

Small and medium businesses — Our research indicates that small and medium engineering businesses tend to include HPC applications as part of their overall IT infrastructure as opposed to separate systems as found in larger industrial sites. In this case partitioning may be the best way to optimize total company resource use between technical and business applications.

Impact of Grids/Clouds — As virtual computing infrastructures come online, the geographic distribution of users begins to work against time partitioning, as there will always be someone in the world looking for development time or production time on a system, in this case a server partitioning scheme may be necessary.


  1. I’ve often thought virtualization would be a great way to take some of these new architectures and make porting old codes alot easier. If a virtualization solution could make 1000 individual nodes with 1G of ram a piece, look like a big 1-terabyte uniform memory space, that would be great for old tools.

    Plus the ability for a single HPC to run Linux, AIX, Solaris, Windows (blech), or OSX, by simply loading a different virtualization imprint would also be great use.

  2. John Leidel says

    Don’t forget about the Rocks guys!! They’ve included an officially supported Xen roll in their latest Rocks 5.0 release 🙂