Home / Editor's Pick of the Week / Altair Unveiled PBS Professional 10.0

Altair Unveiled PBS Professional 10.0

By Margaret S. Gurney

Resource managers and administrators at more than 1400 sites worldwide use PBS Professional to efficiently distribute and manage compute workload across cluster, SMP, and hybrid configurations.

At the recent SuperComputing ’08 exhibition, Altair Engineering (Troy, MI) unveiled PBS Professional 10, a workload management system for grid, cluster, and on-demand computing environments that is said to deliver improved performance, greater administrator control, and reduced power costs to users. Green Provisioning, which enables administrators to better manage grid or cluster power usage, is one of many major enhancements in version 10.

The flagship product in Altair’s PBS GridWorks suite of enabling technologies for on-demand grid computing, PBS Professional provides a flexible computing environment that allows enterprises to share heterogeneous computing resources across geographic boundaries and to maximize ROI (return on investment) on computing infrastructure assets. Plus, two days after Altair unveiled PBS Professional, it announced that PBS Professional can integrate with an HP Cluster Management Utility (see link at end). Here’s a quick tour of PBS Professional 10.

“Our 10.0 GridWorks release is strongly focused on end-user productivity — making high-performance computing easy to use and more accessible for engineers.”
— Bill Nitzberg, GridWorks, CTO

The Green Provision
“PBS Professional 10 continues our tradition of delivering innovative, high-value features to our customers in a timely fashion. Our Green Provisioning feature reduces costs by intelligently scheduling power management based on predicted and actual utilization,” said Bill Nitzberg, chief technology officer, PBS GridWorks.

PBS Professional allows the administrator to set minimum workload levels and automatically adjust computing resource use based on actual demand. This green computing provision gives users the ability to schedule jobs to minimize the use of electric power. Additionally, green provisioning provides a shutdown service when computing resources are not in use.

“Other introduced features provide administrators greater control and flexibility as they manage their grid and cluster computing resources — which improves overall system performance and the productivity of its users,” added Nitzberg. “Our 10.0 GridWorks release is strongly focused on end-user productivity — making high-performance computing easy to use and more accessible for engineers.”

GridWorks Analytics is a web-based portal for visualizing HPC usage data, empowering IT professionals to make informed decisions. Click each image above to see larger versions.

While PBS GridWorks is Altair’s suite of HPC management tools — which includes PBS Professional (the flagship product of the suite), GridWorks Analytics (also just released at SuperComputing), and e-Compute, GridWorks uses the same licensing system (units) as HyperWorks so customers have the ability to access all of these HPC tools as well as Altair’s CAE tools in HyperWorks.

More Flexibility for Administrators
In addition to its energy-saving features, PBS Professional 10.0 offers formula-based scheduling that allows for the definition of any user policy and for that policy to be combined with existing policies into one formula. This feature ensures a smooth transition in job priority — which the company explains provides unmatched control and flexibility for administrators.

Detailed historical data can be sorted, filtered, graphed, and exported for accounting and chargeback. Click here to see a larger version of the image.

Standing Reservations is a feature that extends PBS Professional 10.0’s existing Advance Reservations to use standards-based iCalendar syntax (RFC 2445) as well as provide a platform for global use with the inclusion of time-zone awareness, including daylight-savings time.

Submission Filtering allows administrators to insert hooks (call-outs to custom executable files) to accept, reject, or modify an upcoming action, all of which enables on-the-fly tuning of changing priorities. This feature also provides a higher-level of control in real time thereby improving productivity.

Job Execution Sandboxes allow separate jobs to be kept apart in unique directories, removing interference between jobs and improving overall reliability and scalability.

Altair’s CAE web portal, e-Compute, has been developed and integrated with CAE applications to allow engineers access to HPC resources from any where in the world. Click here to see a larger version of the image.

Enabling HPC Cost Effectively
PBS Professional 10.0’s multi-core support allows users to immediately realize maximum value from their multi-core processors, but it’s Altair’s On-Demand Licensing Model that could offer enterprises an attractive alternative to expensive software licensing management expenses.

The On-Demand-Licensing Model enables enterprises to pay only for what they use. This allows enterprises to empower their entire infrastructure with high-end Altair software through easy-to-maintain concurrent usage licenses. Altair’s flexible software licenses can dynamically float across enterprise computing resources, including geographically separate systems, to meet the changing needs of users.

It also creates a single on-demand computing environment that intelligently schedules applications onto multi-core based infrastructures, maximizing return on computing capital investments.

Altair’s On-Demand Licensing Model also offers a simplified pricing structure, which is $13.50 per concurrent license.

Personal PBS
Moving from the professional sphere to the personal one, Altair’s PBS Professional 10.0 is aligned with a separate program called Personal PBS, which provides desktop-level workload management tools for multi-core workstations.

Personal PBS turns your desktop into a miniature compute farm – for free.

Personal PBS lets you queue — then run — complex jobs in the background, using idle computing cycles, and without interfering with your normal activities.

“Our Personal PBS drag-and-drop interface is really revolutionary in this regard,” added Nitzberg. “Being recognized by Desktop Engineering — itself focused on making engineers more productive — is a great honor.”

“Paid for Itself”
One customer was reported to have responded this way to its use of PBS Professional 10.0: “After deploying PBS Professional and its Green Provisioning technology, we reduced our operational power requirements by 20 percent (compared to peak loads),” said Shajy Thomas, head of technology at Crest Animation Studios (Burbank, CA; link below).

“We estimate that the entire GridWorks Suite paid for itself within the first 12 months of deployment,” Thomas added. “Crest Animation Studios relies on Altair’s PBS Professional workload management solution to maximize the utilization of high-performance computing (HPC) resources used in producing animated films, DVDs, and television series.”

Actual Pricing
PBS Professional is $13.50 per core per year (North America annual lease). And Personal PBS is free to run jobs on the local desktop; plus, there will be a nominal per-user charge to submit and manage jobs to back-end PBS Professional clusters. For a limited time, Altair is including a free trial license good through the end of 2009 for this capability as well.

Learn more about GridWorks and PBS Professional 10.0 from Altair.

Read why DE’s editors chose this as a Pick of the Week.

Link directly to information about PBS Professional.

Link directly to information about Personal PBS.

To purchase annual or trial licenses for PBS Professional, visit Altair’s online store.

Register to read the Message Board for PBS GridWorks Community.

Access the PBS GridWorks Resource Library.

Request a Quote for PBS Professional 10.0.

Read the release on “Altair Integrates PBS Professional with HP Cluster Management Utility.”

Download the PBS Professional datasheet.

Access Crest Animation Studios.

Margaret S. Gurney is the editor for new products at Desktop Engineering magazine.

About DE Editors

DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.