Previously known as Singularity, Apptainer is the most popular container system used for HPC (high-performance computing). And Linux has just adopted it!
What is the Apptainer Project?
The Apptainer project will enable organizations to efficiently execute high-performance computing tasks while ensuring that their operations are portable and secure. It allows organizations to create containers for their software, helping it run on large HPC clusters. As a result, users can make a software package from any laptop or PC. This makes it easily accessible, offering a portable, reproducible product that can easily be transferred. Moreover, the resulting ‘container’ is a single file, and it is easy to run on any platform or computing software.
What makes Apptainer Unique
Currently, there are several container platforms; what sets Apptainer apart is its ability to run several complex micro-service apps on HPC clusters. Among the reasons for its uniqueness, Apptainer also offers compatibility with ‘Open Container Initiative’ Standards through Docker. It supports various graphics processing units, high-speed networks, programmable gate arrays, and file systems, making it the top choice for HPC users.
Furthermore, its inclusion of cryptographic signatures, in-memory encryption, and immutable image formats makes Apptainer a secure and reproducible platform to use. Plus, it is expected to have a massive impact on artificial intelligence, allowing machine learning engineers to incorporate parallelization and optimization when working on machine learning models and data-driven analytics.
Future of Apptainer
The Linux Foundation has just adopted the Apptainer project and, in time, is expected to grow with the help of a proven structure of governance and more visibility. Therefore, Apptainer aims to enable cross-collaboration amongst developers and technologists to expand their ecosystem.
However, the collaboration is still in its early stages, and the market is gradually starting to accept it. And although it will take time for Linux to reach Apptainer’s maximum potential, they are well on their way!