Cray Releases Highly Scalable, More Inclusive Super-Linux

We'd all love to have a supercomputer, but sadly, most of us will never have the chance to put that much umph in our computing. If you happen to be in the market for a sweet little Linux box with a half-million cores or so, though, Cray may have just what you're looking for.

On Wednesday, Cray Inc. — maker of some of the fastest supercomputers in the world — released the third-generation of its super-operating system. What makes it so super special? For one, it's Linux — and that's always a good thing.

And Linux is at the root of one of its newest features and biggest selling points: what Cray is calling "Cluster Compatibility Mode." Previous versions of the Cray Linux Environment (CLE) have not played nicely with third-party applications — considerable cost and effort was required to port programs to utilize Cray's proprietary communication protocol.

That is a thing of the past, however, with the Cluster Compatibility Mode in CLE 3. Customers can now deploy third-party applications on their Cray systems as though it were an ordinary Linux cluster — no porting required. According to Cray's Scalable Systems VP Barry Bolding, CLE 3 "can run our customers' key ISV applications right out of the box."

Offerings from a number of independent software vendors (ISVs) — including SIMULIA, Accelrys, and CEI — have already confirmed that their applications will run under CLE 3 without modification. CEI President Anders Grimsrud described the Cluster Compatibility Mode as "a game-changing feature in Cray's latest operating system," going on to say that his company is "pleased to again be a part of the Cray computing environment for HPC."

Another key feature of CLE 3 is its dramatically-increased scalability. The previous version of the Cray Linux Environment could support as many as 200,000 cores — CLE 3 nearly triples that capacity, supporting upwards of 500,000 cores. Additional performance-enhancing features have been added that allow far more fine-grained control of system resources, offering performance enhancements of as much as 10% - 20%.

Cray plans to begin distribution of CLE 3 on its XT6/XT6m line, and expand to its XT5/XT5m offerings before the end of the year.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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Their customers have access

Anonymous's picture

Their customers have access to the source code of the GPL licensed bits. The kernel is essentially SuSE's SLE11 kernel with some mods for Cray specific hardware, i.e., no south bridge, network directly connected to HT instead of HT to PCI bridge, etc.

source code?

Frances's picture

Thanks for the press release. Any idea where the source code is? There is no information on their site, though I did dig up their 14-page license through Google, which includes the full text of the GPL:
They have their own proprietary, restricted code mixed with FOSS code, and have several paragraphs how they are totally not responsible for the GPL/OSS code.

The Xt line is Linux-based, which they talk about a lot, but still no mention of source code:

I just know someone is going to comment "Well how many people could really use the source code!" or something similar. That's not the point-- the point is GPL compliance, and journalsts giving complete information and not giving vendors a free pass.

No, actually I would try to

chris_f's picture

No, actually I would try to run this on my Xeon multicore VM server workstation just for bragging rights.

“Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.” – Bertrand Russell
Windows Anonymous -- The first step is admitting you have a problem

Can you characters ever talk

Anonymous's picture

Can you characters ever talk about Linux without whining about Microsoft?

That was my sig, it appears

chris_f's picture

That was my sig, it appears to have been too long for LINUX know, where us LINUX USERS tend to talk a lot about LINUX, hence the name, so who's doing the whining? Sorry I hurted your widdle feewings; go back to PCPitStop or wherever and quit trolling.

“Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.” – Bertrand Russell
Windows Anonymous -- The first step is admitting you have a problem