Sylabs Announces Singularity Enterprise 2.3 for Hybrid Docker/Singularity Workflows

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Reno, NV – (June 21, 2023) – Sylabs, a provider of tools and services for performance-intensive container technology, announced today the launch of Singularity Enterprise 2.3. The company said the update synergizes the Open Container Initiative (OCI) with the versatility of Singularity for interoperability between OCI-compatible containers and enabling users to leverage Singularity for complex, performance-intensive environments.

At the heart of the new release is an integrated OCI (Open Container Initiative) registry, an innovative feature that expands the interoperability capabilities of Singularity Enterprise. The OCI registry bridges the gap between diverse OCI-compatible container platforms, including Docker and Podman, that are crucial to different user groups within both enterprise and High Performance Computing (HPC) environments. This innovation empowers users to manage Docker/OCI and Singularity Image Format (SIF) workflows in a single tool and centralizes artifact storage, significantly streamlining workflows, enhancing security, and providing newfound agility in rapidly evolving computing landscapes. What’s more, this consolidation not only improves the user experience but also reduces the administrative burden by eliminating the need for duplicate server resources and minimizing ongoing administrative costs.

“It is clear that OCI standards play an increasingly important role in the growing and diverse landscape of performance-intensive computing,” said Adam Hughes, CTO of Sylabs. “With Singularity Enterprise 2.3, we’ve integrated OCI support to lay the groundwork for HPC centers, enabling them to effortlessly leverage OCI tools within their Singularity workflows. This not only simplifies their operations but also aligns with our mission to make HPC more accessible and efficient for enterprise organizations using high performance computing environments. As more organizations find themselves with workloads that require this level of computing, our focus remains on providing flexible, future-proof tools that meet the diverse and evolving needs of our growing user base.”

The impact of Singularity Enterprise 2.3 reaches beyond technical innovation. It’s also a major stride towards a future where FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) computational practices are more widely embraced. FAIR principles provide guidelines to improve the infrastructure supporting the reuse of data, aiming to foster more efficient knowledge discovery by assisting humans and machines in their discovery of, access to, integration and analysis of data. Singularity containers, designed originally for scientific computing and performance reproducibility, naturally align with the FAIR paradigm. This update effectively facilitates the sharing, discovery, and utilization of various computational tools and data, driving innovation in both research and enterprise computing workflows where reproducibility is critical.

“The Singularity Enterprise 2.3 release marks a significant advancement not only in terms of technical capabilities but also in the wider context of scientific computing,” said Hughes. “By facilitating FAIR computational practices, we’re reinforcing our commitment to driving innovation and progress in high-end research environments. We envision a world where researchers can more easily build upon the work of others, harnessing the full potential of computational data. This release takes us one step closer to that reality.”

In addition to fostering FAIR-compliant computation, Singularity Enterprise 2.3 unlocks several significant benefits:

  • Enhanced compatibility and flexibility: By supporting both OCI and SIF, Singularity Enterprise 2.3 ensures compatibility with a broad range of container images, addressing diverse user requirements.
  • Expanded user base: The ability to handle OCI and SIF broadens the potential user base, accommodating different use cases from various users, including researchers, data scientists, and engineers across disciplines, including enterprise environments where performance-intensive computing is becoming increasingly more common.
  • Future readiness: The continuously evolving container ecosystem may introduce new standards and formats. Singularity Enterprise 2.3’s level of adaptability keeps it ahead of the curve, ready to meet changing user needs more easily.

Furthermore, Singularity Enterprise 2.3 optimizes the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) workflow by supporting both SIF images and OCI artifacts, simplifying and accelerating the deployment process. In line with Sylabs’ dedication to continuous improvement, this update also incorporates user feedback-driven bug fixes and updated third-party dependencies.