Creating a new computing platform is a colossal effort. It requires a new hardware architecture, processor design, processor fabrication, system design, operating system enablement and finally, application enablement. Historically, introducing a new computing platform was only attempted by large companies with the resources to attempt all of those tasks. Even then, most new platforms fail to achieve wide-spread use.
Arm used a different approach to introduce the 64-bit Arm server platform—leveraging many different partners to deliver parts of the solution. This allows each partner to focus on the area where they have the most expertise.
With today’s announcement of the HPE Catalyst UK program, the evolution of the Arm server program reaches an inflection point—customers can actually start using the 64-bit Arm platform at scale for high performance computing workloads. This program is the culmination of many years of effort by Arm, Cavium, HPE, SUSE, and thousands of other partners and contributors.
The three supercomputer clusters delivered by the Catalyst UK program will use over 12,000 Cavium ThunderX2 Arm processors in HPE Apollo 70 systems running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 for High Performance Computing (SLES 12 for HPC) and SUSE Enterprise Storage.
These supercomputers are designed to enable new scientific discoveries and enhance the competitiveness of businesses by leveraging simulation and artificial intelligence on a large scale.
SLES 12 for HPC is tailored for HPC workloads by including the HPC Module. The HPC Module consists of a number of HPC packages that are fully supported on 64-bit Arm and X86-64 hardware. It allows customers to implement HPC environments faster because these packages use the same installation and update process as any other package in SLES.
SUSE uses the Module delivery mechanism to provide new and updated open-source HPC software more quickly than would be possible through standard release delivery mechanisms.The SLES for HPC subscription includes support for the packages in the HPC Module.
The HPC Module consists of dozens of HPC relevant packages such as slurm, openblas, openmpi, and hdf5. Quarterly updates are planned to deliver additional packages in the HPC Module. As a premier enterprise Linux distribution, SUSE contributes to the HPC open-source community through projects such as OpenHPC. In fact, SUSE Linux is the operating system used for the OpenHPC 64-bit Arm build and test infrastructure.
SUSE also provides SUSE Enterprise Storage as part of the Catalyst UK program. SUSE Enterprise Storage is powered by open-source Ceph and OPENAttic to deliver a simple-to-use software defined storage solution with near limitless scalability.
SUSE has been delivering commercially supported open-source Linux and storage solutions for the 64-bit Arm platform for almost two years, using a common code base for all SUSE supported hardware platforms. The Catalyst UK program will allow participants to fully exploit the unique characteristics of the 64-bit Arm based HPE Apollo 70 systems in a real-world HPC environment.