Intel Cluster Ready FAQ: Hardware vendors, system integrators, platform suppliers

Q: Why should we join the Intel® Cluster Ready program?
A: By offering certified Intel Cluster Ready systems and certified components, you can give customers greater confidence in deploying and running HPC systems. Participating in the program will help you drive HPC adoption, expand your customer base, and streamline customer support. You will also gain access to the Intel Cluster Checker software tool and the library of pre-certified Intel Cluster Ready system reference designs.
Learn more about the Intel Cluster Ready program

Q: How do we build a certified Intel Cluster Ready cluster?
A: First, read and accept the program agreement. You will receive access to the software and documents you need to build the cluster, including the Intel Cluster Ready Specification. Use Intel® Cluster Checker software to ensure the cluster is compliant with the specification. Once the cluster has passed the test, send a certification form with the Intel Cluster Checker output files to Intel to earn the certification. To simplify the process, you can also create an exact copy of an Intel Cluster Ready "reference design" and avoid having to test and re-certify the cluster.
Read more about the certification process

Q: Does the Intel Cluster Ready program restrict vendor-specific additions to clusters?
A: No. The Intel Cluster Ready Specification defines a set of minimum requirements but in no way restricts innovation or the inclusion of additional capabilities. Once the base specification is met, you can add cluster monitoring, management, hardware configuration, interconnect options, or runtime components. If additions are made after certification, the cluster will need to be re-certified.
Read more about the types of changes that require re-certification

Q: What is a “reference design"? What makes a reference design Intel Cluster Ready?
A: A “reference design” is a repeatable process that can be followed to build a cluster platform. The recipe includes a list of essentials (or materials) with step-by-step instructions for setting up, installing, and configuring the cluster hardware and software.

An Intel Cluster Ready reference design has been certified to produce clusters adhering to the Intel Cluster Ready technical specification. Intel also provides Intel Cluster Ready reference designs that can be used by Intel Cluster Ready hardware partners as-is or as a basis for customization. Hardware partners may also create their own recipes for validation and certification.
View Intel Cluster Ready reference recipes

Q: What is a certificate?
A: A certificate is an electronically signed document that provides proof of certification for a cluster recipe. The certificate is issued for the particular reference system built according to the recipe, but all clusters built from the recipe are covered by the same certificate. With a single certificate for a cluster recipe, you can sell multiple configurations.
Learn more about the Intel Cluster Ready program

Q: If a reference cluster was certified with 6-core Intel® Xeon® processors, does the certification automatically cover 8-core processors?
A: Yes, although some Intel Cluster Checker performance thresholds will change. In general, the cluster hardware can be altered as long as the cluster software stack is unchanged. Performance parameters may need to be adjusted so that Intel Cluster Checker can successfully verify the new configuration.
Learn more about the allowed hardware variances

Q: Do we need to go through the certification process for each new software update or upgrade?
A: It depends. The entire hardware and software stack is certified. If a piece is changed, updated, or replaced in a way that falls outside the exceptions in the certification procedure, the resulting modified stack must also be certified. The second certificate does not invalidate the first, so customers using the first stack still have a certified Intel Cluster Ready system.
Read more about the certification process

Q: How do we join the Intel Cluster Ready program?
A: Read and accept the program agreement

Q: What do we receive when we join the Intel Cluster Ready program?
A: You receive access to:

  • The Intel Cluster Ready Specification
  • A list of pre-certified cluster reference designs
  • Intel Cluster Ready cluster test and tools software and documentation
  • Optional training on the Intel Cluster Ready program and its tools
  • Documented procedures for certification and testing
  • Vendor certificates for all certified recipes
  • Registration of compliant applications
  • Sales collateral templates
  • Opportunities to be listed in Intel Cluster Ready marketing material

Q: If we have additional questions about how to build or certify an Intel Cluster Ready system, where can we get technical support?
A: When you accept the program agreement, you will be given an account on the Online Service Center site. A team of Intel Cluster Ready technical experts monitor the support site and will respond to any technical questions you may have.