Intel has purchased Whamcloud, a commercial purveyor of the open source Lustre file system, to keep fortifying its resources for the high-performance computing (HPC) market.

Intel plans to use Whamcloud's expertise in HPC to boost its own work in the still-nascent field of exascale computing, according to Brent Gorda, who was the former CEO of Whamcloud and now is general manager of Intel's high-performance data division.

Intel already has a significant presence in the US market. Intel processors powered more than 74% of the world's 500 most powerful computers, according to the most recent Top500.org ranking.

Whamcloud is one of the chief supporters of Lustre, a massively parallel file system used in many of the world's top supercomputers.

The company was founded in 2010 by a number of Lustre developers shortly after Oracle completed its purchase of Sun Microsystems, which then maintained Lustre code base, a technology first developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Whamcloud focused on commercially supporting x86 Lustre deployments, and capitalised on Oracle's seeming hesitancy in offering a road map for the technology. Oracle continues to commercially support Lustre as well.

Intel has been a big proponent of exascale computing, an effort to build computers more powerful than today's top supercomputers by three orders of magnitude or more.

Last month, Intel launched a family of co-processors, called Xeon Phi, that it said could be used in exaflop-speed computers. And last week, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Intel Federal, an Intel subsidiary, two subcontracts worth $19 million, to participate in the DOE's exascale-focused Extreme-Scale Computing Research and Development "FastForward" program.