Latest Release of SGI ProPack Software Pushes Linux Further into HPC with
Features Exclusive to Altix Servers, Clusters and Supercomputers
SGI today unveiled SGI ProPack(TM) 5 for Linux(R), the latest version of
its software supplement that boosts the capabilities and performance of
industry- standard Linux on the world's most scalable Linux servers.
SGI ProPack 5 brings unique and powerful capabilities to SGI(R)
Altix(R) 4700 and 450 systems running on Intel(R) Itanium(R) 2 processors,
while simplifying the deployment and administration of SGI(R) Altix(R) XE
clusters built around Dual-Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) processors. SGI ProPack 5
will be offered as an optional enhancement to SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise
Server 10 from Novell(R).
SGI ProPack 5 on Altix 4700 and 450 Servers
The latest release of SGI ProPack brings SGI's REACT Real-Time
Extension for Linux to a standard Linux distribution for the first time
enabling real- time capabilities and support on an unmodified version of
the open-source kernel. REACT guarantees interrupt response times of no
more than 30 microseconds in configurations of 2 to 64 Intel Itanium 2
processors. Interrupt response time is the time that passes between the
instant a hardware device raises an interrupt signal, and the instant the
system returns control to a user process.
For customers conducting flight simulation, satellite data analysis, or
command and control activities, the inclusion of REACT in SGI ProPack 5
means users can easily run real-time applications on the largest support
single system images (SSIs) in the industry.
This latest support for real-time computing on Linux is the result of
years of contributions to the open-source community by SGI, which has
consistently identified hold-offs and submitted kernel modifications that,
once accepted into the Linux kernel, have resulted in better latencies. Yet
even as it has contributed innovations that benefit all Linux users, SGI
remains the only vendor to provide a real-time solution designed to use
with a leading Linux distribution.
SGI ProPack 5, in conjunction with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10,
provides another industry first: support for systems running 1,024
processors under a single copy of Linux. By driving the capabilities of SGI
Altix and 64- bit Linux to record heights, SGI continues to push the
boundaries of what even the most demanding high-performance computing (HPC)
customers can expect from Linux.
"With SGI ProPack 5, we continue our long-standing effort to bring to
the Linux platform the same HPC capabilities we had built into our IRIX
systems," said Steve Neuner, director of Linux, SGI. "With enhanced support
for real- time computing and the largest single systems ever to operate
under Linux, SGI ProPack 5 ensures that only SGI can deliver the very best
of HPC to a truly open-source, industry-standard platform."
SGI ProPack 5 on Altix XE Servers
For SGI Altix XE servers, SGI ProPack 5 offers enhanced system
administration and performance monitoring tools that result in better
application performance and simpler cluster management. The latest release
is the first time SGI ProPack has been available for x86 architecture
For instance, a premium new feature of SGI ProPack 5 on Altix XE is
support for flexible file I/O (FFIO). Never before available for systems
based on Intel Xeon processors, FFIO support enables every application that
runs on SGI Altix XE servers and clusters to automatically take advantage
of optimized I/O speeds when accessing data files. This can result in I/O
performance enhancements of up to 15 percent by reading files either
backwards and forwards to reduce wait time.
SGI ProPack 5 also incorporates a full slate of tools that help system
administrators better manage system resources, both on single systems and
across clusters. In particular, NUMA tools such as cpuset allow
administrators to more efficiently assign cluster CPU and memory resources
to handle application workloads. SGI ProPack 5 also provides users with
other important features, such as the Intel MPI runtime environment and
Linux jobs support.
While such SGI ProPack 5 features as REACT today are supported only on
Intel Itanium 2 processor-based systems, the latest release lays the
groundwork for further enhancements to SGI Altix systems based on Intel
"Bringing HPC-class capabilities to standard Linux distributions on a
broad range of systems is a key element of our product strategy," said
Neuner. "Throughout the Altix product line, customers benefit from SGI
innovation, SGI performance, and SGI reliability."
"While SUSE Linux Enterprise can now support single Altix systems of up
to 1,024 processors, we recognize that scalability is about far more than
processor count," said Roger Levy, Novell vice president and general
manager, Open Platform Solutions. "By taking advantage of such SGI ProPack
features as real-time performance and bundled Intel tools, SUSE Linux
Enterprise shows once more its commitment to meeting the business needs of
the rapidly growing community of performance-minded Linux users."
The SGI Altix family leverages the built-in SGI NUMAlink
interconnect fabric, which allows global addressing of all memory in the
system and delivers data up to 200 times faster than conventional
interconnects. For the first time, more complex data sets and complete
workflows can be driven entirely out of memory, enabling productivity
breakthroughs that traditional Linux clusters or repurposed UNIX(R) servers
can't achieve. Altix systems offer breakthrough flexibility and
configurability, scaling to up to 512 processors per node. Based on a
64-bit Linux operating environment, the Altix family is uniquely capable of
independently scaling Intel Itanium 2 and Intel Xeon processors, shared
memory and/or I/O on a single, standard chassis with different expansion
modules, providing optimal resource usage for demanding technical