Rocks, as folks might know is a cluster distribution based upon Redhat/Centos. This brings in all sort of issues on its own, but Rocks attempts to work around this and knead the distribution and associated tools into a cogent form, for simple cluster setup.
The core team consisted of the project lead, several developers and a number of others directly or loosely affiliated with the group. Two members, Dr. Greg Bruno, and Mason Katz, just left to join Clustercorp, who make the commercial version, Rocks+.
This is a good move. One I thought would be coming eventually (actually thought the project lead would jump too, but I was wrong apparently). Rocks is (not was, it is continuing as a core project until at least 2012) supported by various grants from NSF and others (I believe, correct me if I am wrong).
This isn’t the final chapter in the Rocks saga, but a new chapter. I expected the core group to do a tech transfer like thing, and go corporate. They (for the most part) did.
Right now, I see a few strong players in the cluster distribution space: Rocks (of course), Bright Cluster Manager, and to a lesser extent, xCat2 and Perceus (though not because there’s anything wrong with it, just needs more marketing to get the visibility they need).
There are others, including windows offerings. Though fundamentally that last group may or may not survive within Microsoft, if it can’t generate the sort of numbers that Microsoft needs for revenue and profit.
Clusters, and clouds, are evolving rapidly. Cluster distributions as a business model are things, probably with more history behind them than in front of them. Cloud HPC is a different ballgame, one where installation time costs you real money, so that will be a non-starter. This works well in BCM and Perceus’ favor. But I wouldn’t count out anyone else, it is just as easy to PXE boot an iSCSI or NFS mounted node as it is to PXE boot an installation. And this said, the tight tie-in between Rocks and Redhat derived distros could wind up with an interesting acquisition in the not too distant future.
So I wish Greg and Mason much luck and success in their new endeavor.