Grid Engine goes premium, celebrates 20 years as a technology


There are few examples enterprise software that have stood the test of time and lasted 20 years and still remain internal integral to the modern data center and enterprise. Grid Engine is one of those products. Sun Microsystems acquired Grid Engine, open sourced it, and started giving it away for free with its products. Now a new company Univa, has adopted the product as it was about to go to pasture. The team there has made it a paid product again, but with enhanced features that integrate big data and other trends in enterprise computing.

Once confined to high performance computing and research environments, Grid Engine has evolved to be a common element of every enterprise in ensuring maximum efficiency of their computer infrastructure in incidences such as enterprise applications like crew & fleet scheduling, industrial design, meeting Moore’s Law in electronic design, airplane design, safety, weather prediction, drugs and genomics. The technology is celebrating its 20th anniversary, with several new features.

“Since taking over the management of Grid Engine, Univa has singlehandedly delivered over 525 updates, including our latest 8.1.5 release,” explains Univa CEO, Gary Tyreman in an interview with CivSource.

Part of the updates to Grid Engine include improving the quality and adding new features to the most commonly used applications of the technology. To that end, the company rolled out its new License Orchestrator at the ISC conference recently held in Germany.

“We have hired the original engineer of Grid Engine to do more innovation with the product and build out its capabilities as we transfer it back to a paid product,” he says.

Grid Engine can now enable a Big Data infrastructure more efficiently and with up to 50% cost-savings on Hadoop deployment. Most notably, grid computing made it possible for researchers at the Large Hadron Collider of the European Center for Nuclear Science (CERN) to share data and discover the Higgs boson particle, one of the most important discoveries in particle physics.

License Orchestrator enables a number of services common to government agencies allowing officials to define rules, such as number of users, quotas or license sharing entitlements, to prioritize access to limited and expensive software license features according to mission critical projects. Tyreman explains that the feature matches up licensing with those teams that need it most.

“There are some imaging licenses that NASA uses for example, that run a million dollars per year. This helps the organization match up the workflows and cut back on the number of licenses they need.”

The solution is designed to seamlessly integrate with existing IT systems for easy deployment and data collection necessary for license optimization, providing agencies with ability to prioritize licensing and maintain use reporting. License Orchestrator also has out of the box connectivity with Flexera FlexNet Publisher.

Tyreman says that releases like this are the next phase for Grid Engine – moving beyond just improving features and instead releasing new capabilities. “We have more things in the pipeline, data center architecture isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago, and we are changing with it.” He says that because Grid Engine and the License Orchestrator are written in the C computing language, they can easily be deployed across all types of architectures.

The company is also working on a new porting release for Windows due out later this year. “The system does scale up and down, we’ve made it so that organizations are only paying for what they need. We think that the ability to work with Hadoop, around big data issues is of value as well as more organizations look into what they can do with their data.”