Platform adds HP's MPI, developers alongside Scali MPI [Updated]

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Jeff Squyres posts news on his blog that Platform Computing has added HP-MPI to its stable of technologies. Why is this a little unexpected? They already owned Scali MPI.

First, the news from Platform

Platform logoPlatform Computing, the leader in workload and resource management software for clusters, grids and clouds, announced today an agreement whereby Platform has acquired HP-MPI (Message Passing Interface) from HP.  Platform has purchased the technology assets and intellectual property associated with HP-MPI software.  In addition, Platform has hired key members of the HP-MPI development team.  Under the terms of the deal, HP will continue to sell and market HP-MPI under the Platform MPI brand.  This acquisition supports Platform’s strategy to extend its leadership in High Performance Computing (HPC) management software with development of a world-leading MPI product.

So, why make the acquisition? It makes sense to me that this is a straight up market consolidation effort to grow the cluster tools side of Platform’s business by swallowing competitors. Again, from the release

Platform’s plan is to combine the superior performance of its existing MPI technology with HP-MPI’s broad ISV acceptance to create a single, comprehensive and powerful product named Platform MPI.  HP-MPI and Platform’s current MPI products will continue on current release cycles and be maintained to support existing customers for an interim period. In addition, Platform will continue support for legacy versions of each product even after the release of a combined offering.

Jeff notes that there may be problems in executing this approach in his post

Rebranding the Scali code base as “that-which-used-to-be-HP-MPI” might be difficult—even if some of HP-MPI’s more-attractive features are ported over to the Scali code base.  Convincing ISV’s to effectively change to a new underlying MPI may be a difficult proposition.  ISV’s like stability.  Change is hard—it requires potentially large amounts of QA resources (and therefore, money).

And offers a few other options as well. I recommend reading both the release (which is unusually informative for a press release) and Jeff’s post.

[Updated, 08252009] The Register adds a little more to the story

And according to Scott Misage, director of solutions research and development in HP’s cross-divisional Scalable Computing and Infrastructure organization, the HP-MPI stack has two other attributes that Platform found valuable. The first is that HP-MPI can support various speeds of Myrinet, Ethernet, and InfiniBand technologies and do so without having to recompile applications for each change in networking technology. Second, the current HP-MPI 2.3 edition is supported by 32 HPC application providers.

HP reckons that it has sold over 40,000 licenses to its MPI implementation, which dwarfs the installed base of Scali-MPI and which competes with the other popular vendor-sponsored MPI stack – the one from Intel. There are several open source MPI stacks, which are also very popular, and some niche ones, such as those created by Cray for its XT5 supers and IBM for its BlueGene supers. Misage reckons that HP has the most ISVs supporting a particular MPI stack.