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Whamcloud wants to make Lustre easier to use

The high-performance computing company hopes to have a beta ready in November

Whamcloud has started developing a new GUI (graphical user interface) that will make it easier to manage the open source file system Lustre, the company said this week at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Hamburg.

Lustre is a massively parallel file system, and is used for storing large amounts of data across multiple nodes. The technology has made a name for itself in the high-performance supercomputing sector, and is used across a large percentage of the world's fastest computers, including China's Tianhe-1A system.

It is still very early in the development process of the new GUI, according to John Spray, senior software engineer at Whamcloud. On the conference's exhibition floor, the company showed a concept of what the user interface might look like, mostly to tell people they are working on it. The company wants feedback from potential users, Spray said.

The goal is to have a beta ready for SC11, which is the U.S. counterpart of ISC and takes place in November in Seattle, according to CEO Brent Gorda.

Whamcloud, which focuses on high-performance computing, has a hardware-agnostic policy that it is carrying over to the new GUI. There are already GUIs for Lustre, but they are tied to a specific vendor's hardware, Spray said.

Traditionally, Lustre has been managed using a CLI (command-line interface). However, by adding a graphical option, Whamcloud wants to make is possible for larger group of IT staff to manage the platform, and in the process grow its popularity. For example, the GUI will make it a better fit for cloud services, according to Spray.

Like many open source companies, Whamcloud makes money offering support and technical services, including installation, performance tuning and architecting.

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