Who is Sylabs?
We are often asked about who Sylabs is, and what we are working on for both the open source community, and for those who require professional support of their HPC container workflow environments. Sylabs was created in 2017 to provide support, professional services, and value-added tooling for the Singularity container ecosystem, which has become predominant in shared, high performance computing environments.
To back up, let’s start with why a new container runtime was introduced into HPC. Docker had taken off as a de facto container technology for scaling out web and database services, but this differed widely from how scientists and researchers wanted to use it in HPC with batch schedulers. So, the means to containerize applications was important, but the way in which Docker did this did not meet HPC needs for simplicity, security and repeatability. Singularity was created to address the gaps in the existing technology. While allowing easier access to the underlying hardware on a compute node.
Singularity began as an open source project, and achieved great accomplishments in 2016 when community features were introduced to leverage an already existing Docker ecosystem of application containers. Docker paved the way to container adoption in Enterprise, and Singularity became a widely adopted container runtime for HPC in a very short time. One year later, adoption of Singularity drove the creation of Sylabs to provide professional support and additional tooling to the open source community, and the customers who rely on production-ready support.
Let’s talk a little more about the open source container platform designed to be simple, fast, and secure; Singularity.