Industry experts form new Lustre startup

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Following the official acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation, there have been quite a few HPC industry pundits debating the eventual fate of the famed parallel file system Lustre.  Lustre made its name by anchoring super-scale computational centers such as Oak Ridge National Lab.  Considering Oracle’s core business model does not rely on technologies such as Lustre, the many folks who depend on Lustre for their high performance parallel file system have question marks beside support and continued development. Well, the skies have cleared: lets give a round of applause to Whamcloud.

What’s Whamcloud? Whamcloud is a new venture-backed startup that emerged from stealth mode this morning dedicated to filling the gap for future Lustre development and support.  Their business model is clear, concise and quite refreshing from a startup company in HPC.  As a company, they have three goals:

  1. Whamcloud will combine the world’s leading HPC and storage talent to evolve the state of parallel storage with a strategic focus on the most scalable applications, specifically high performance and cloud computing
  2. Whamcloud will contribute and evolve open source file storage technologies, including the Lustre file system, upon an open-source Linux foundation using Linux storage technology
  3. Whamcloud will focus on enabling open source Lustre storage technology in the industry by opening up file system support to the whole industry, with a hardware-agnostic storage certification and support program

So why the enthusiasm? Whamcloud has assembled a serious team of industry experts.  Not the kind with the typical “CEO of Foo” resumes.  These experts are real HPC gurus.  So who’s lurking the halls of Whamcloud?  Brent Gorda will hold the title of CEO.  Those of you familiar with the Department of Energy know that Brent has been around big HPC for quite some time.  He’s also a former contributor to the Supercomputing Cluster Challenge.  Eric Barton, CTO, was most recently a Principal Engineer at Sun/Oracle and Chief Architect with the Lustre group.  Robert Read, Whamcloud’s Principal Engineer, was also formerly at Sun/Oracle leading the charge for Lustre 2.0 development.

What’s not to like? You have two of the leading visionaries behind recent development efforts in Lustre and one of the thought leaders in Lustre implementation and operations.

There is tremendous demand for leadership from a professional engineering organization that is focused on evolving Lustre for the next 10 years of HPC and cloud storage,” said Brent Gorda, Whamcloud CEO. “History has proven that hardware-oriented purchases of open-platform file storage technologies are disruptive to the growth of scale-out storage technology. First and foremost, Whamcloud will ensure broad and continued international adoption of these technologies through a hardware-agnostic customer approach, across a broad array of data-hungry markets.”

Folks, this is one to keep and eye on.  Lustre is and will continue to be a vital piece of the HPC puzzle.  As larger systems and scalable applications begin to become the norm in HPC, the pressures of I/O and storage will continue to increase.  Whamcloud is well positioned to take Lustre to the next stage of scalability and performance.


  1. I spent some time on the phone with Brent Gorda this week and this Whamcloud venture is the real deal. The Lustre community has risen up!