Intel Shuts Down Lustre File System Business
Chip maker #Intel is getting out of the business of trying to make money with a commercially supported release of the high-end #Lustre parallel file system. Lustre is commonly used at #HPC centers and is increasingly deployed by enterprises to take on their biggest file system jobs. But don’t jump too far to any other conclusions. The core development and support team, minus a few key people who have already left, remains at Intel and will be working on Lustre for the foreseeable future. Intel quietly announced its plans to shutter its Lustre commercialization efforts in a posting earlier this week and is not making any further statements or answering any questions about its plans for Lustre above and beyond what is in this post. The timing of this is interesting, and it unwinds some of the efforts that Intel had made in the enterprise software space, including buying Whamcloud for its Lustre distribution in July 2012 and rolling its own variant of #Hadoop in February 2013. The change Intel is making with its Lustre efforts comes during the same week that Intel Developer Forum, its annual summer partner extravaganza that was hosted for almost two decades, was canceled and just after #Hadoop distributor #Cloudera, in which Intel invested $740 million for a 22 percent stake in the company in March 2014, announced that it was going to go public. The bean counters are clearly taking out their red pencils as #Intel is preparing for an assault on its hegemony in datacenter compute from #IBM with #Power9, a resurgent #AMD with its #Naples Opterons, and the efforts of #AppliedMicro, #Cavium, and #Qualcomm with their respective #X-Gene, #ThunderX, and #Centriq processors. The word on the street is that the #Lustre business was actually profitable, although moderately so, but Intel’s presence as a software peddler no doubt confused some customers and irritated the companies selling Lustre file systems to HPC and enterprise shops that have been doing so long before Intel decided it needed to bring order to this sometimes rambunctious parallel file system community. As far as we know, the Lustre business inside of Intel had about 100 employees, with the 15 core developers lead by Peter Jones, the Lustre engineering manager at Intel who managed the support and release rollups at Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and Whamcloud as each took control of the Lustre file system in their turn. There are another 15 people who are involved in supporting Lustre for customers, and they are also staying on at Intel. Just like Intel has a core set of developers that work on the Linux kernel and it pays for this work because it is in its own enlightened self-interest, Intel seems content to continue to pay for the development of and support of Lustre. This is good news for the Lustre community, particularly since Intel has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting on Lustre for years now. The remaining 70 employees are looking for jobs, including Brent Gorda, the president and CEO at Whamcloud that, way back in 2001 was the future technologies group lead at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who paid Hewlett-Packard to work on further development on Lustre because of the scalability limits of IBM’s Global Parallel File System (GPFS, known as Spectrum these days) as well as XFS and other file systems.