Large government funded research work in seismic and weather forecasting are setting benchmarks in HPC and vendors are using these benchmarks to their advantage. Broadly there are two things worth mentioning here—that they are using Linux servers in clustered mode in HPC and second is that open source applications software used in oil & gas exploration, research (seismic data and weather forecasting) and EDA are additional drivers for the HPC market in India. The open source applications have really taken off with the advent of more choices in the OS—variants of Linux (Red Hat, SUSE) and OpenSolaris. With the availability of these OSs a lot of applications have been developed in-house or made available on the Internet for HPC customers to use.
Viswanath Ramaswamy, Project Lead, STG, IBM India/South Asia said, "Today, a majority of applications are available on these open source OS for HPC. So much so that ISVs who are specializing in HPC have shifted from proprietary OS towards open source ones. This would be incomplete if the commodity computing components were not touched upon. The capability of commodity x86 processors to deliver substantial compute performance has also been a catalyst for this growth and acceptance of open source for HPC requirements.
Justifying the role of open source in HPC, Dr P K Mishra, Consulting Architect, Novell India, said, “In the late 1990s the HPC environment was crowded by expensive proprietary hardware and there were software components in almost every HPC deployment. Every year, since then, Linux, open source compilers and tools have been increasing their share in this space due to their commodity nature, lower cost factor and reasonable performance.
“Linux as server OS technology fits in very well with the HPC segment. Overwhelmingly the majority of today’s HPC clusters are based on Linux. Some of the key benefits which are driving this adoption are high performance, scalability, flexibility, affordability and of course, an increasing ecosystem of hardware and software vendors supporting Linux for the HPC market,” explained Nandu Pradhan, President and Managing Director, Red Hat India.