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Univa Revs Up Grid Engine for ARM Servers

By Pedro Hernandez (Send Email)
Posted February 14, 2013


Grid computing pioneer Univa is setting its sights on ARM servers.

The company announced today that its automation and orchestration software, called Univa Grid Engine, is bringing energy efficient, ARM-based architectures into the fold. It's a move that helps the burgeoning ARM server ecosystem, which is currently being incubated by ARM server specialist Calxeda and vendors Dell and HP, heighten its profile among large scale computing companies.

And scale matters, according to Univa CEO Gary Tyreman.

He told ServerWatch that his company's middleware is "used by organizations that build large server pools." And it's not only the high-performance computing (HPC) crowd that has deployed the tech. Univa has customers "across every spectrum," including enterprises, according to Tyreman.

Univa's decision to support ARM reflects an increasing demand for non-traditional architectures from the company's customers. Tyreman revealed that several have "moved away from pure homogenous architectures," adding that many are bringing non-x86 computing technologies like graphical processing units (GPUs) into their IT mix. Server DatacenterARM's low-power chip technology, which can currently be found in the vast majority of smartphones and tablets, appears to be headed in the same direction.

Responding to this shift, his company is embracing ARM servers with a little help from Calxeda.

Tyreman reported that porting Univa's software to ARM was relatively easy and took a matter of days, not weeks or months. He described Calxeda as a "great platform that we could get our hands on, albeit remotely."

Karl Freund, Calxeda vice president of marketing, said that the quick turnaround is a sign that developers needn't fear ARM architectures.

Freund added that Univa's experience demystifies ARM servers for developers. It helps that the company has been actively engaging the community, including "committing code to the Linux upstream community for four years now," informed Freund. "You don't have to go off and build a Linux kernel," he said. Last year, Dell donated a Calxeda-based server to the influential open source Apache Software Foundation.

The launch of Univa Grid Engine for ARM Beta is a big vote of confidence for ARM servers, allowing IT shops to "manage their workloads at scale," said Freund. "The grid is well understood in the marketplace," he added.

Univa CTO Fritz Ferstl believes that move helps open the door to greener, workload-aware corporate data centers. "Large enterprise users have become increasingly interested in using ARM-based chips in the data center as the focus shifts from performance to making their servers more energy efficient. ARM-based servers support multiple use cases in the modern data center as part of a larger trend toward matching the server hardware to the workload," said Fritz.

Univa Grid Engine for ARM Beta is available now.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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