Sun aims HPC at small organisations

New storage, cluster systems and software aim to take high-performance computing to smaller organisations, departments and branch offices

Sun on Tuesday introduced storage, cluster systems and software aimed at bringing its high-performance computing expertise to smaller organisations, departments and branch offices.

The launch covers two hardware-software bundles — Sun Storage Cluster and Sun Compute Cluster — plus a number of open-source software products and updates for running HPC.

The announcements, made at the Supercomputing 2008 trade show in Austin, Texas, build on the company's success with its Constellation System HPC cluster. At the conference, Sun is previewing a next-generation version of Constellation, which is aimed at large enterprises.

Sun Storage Cluster is built on Sun Fire servers and hybrid data servers, a high-speed interconnect and the open-source Lustre file system, a new version of which also made its debut at the trade show. The system can scale in capacity from 48TB to multiple petabytes and in input/output performance from 1GBps to more than 100 GBps. The company can custom-build and deliver systems through its Sun Customer Ready programme.

Sun Compute Cluster, a pre-configured HPC cluster, is aimed at businesses or enterprise-departments that run compute-intensive applications such as structural analysis, signal processing and financial trading. The system includes rack-mount Sun Fire servers or Sun Blade servers, open-source software, and Infiniband or Ethernet interconnects.

It can scale up to eight racks of compute nodes, and custom-built versions will be offered for the computer-aided engineering and financial services industries, among other specialised segments.

New software introduced by Sun included version 1.8 of the Lustre parallel file system, with features such as version-based recovery, interoperability with clients based on Lustre 1.6 and adaptive time-out, Sun said.

HPC ClusterTools 8.1 features better performance and scalability, while HPC Software Linux Edition 1.1 upgrades several stack components, including the new Cluster file system release and OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution.

HPC Software Solaris Developer Edition Beta 1 is the first public beta of an integrated Solaris-based parallel computing application development environment, and is packaged as virtual machines compatible with Sun's xVM VirtualBox or VMware.

Studio Express 11/08 adds new features such as full compiler support for OpenMP 3.0 application programming interfaces (APIs), support for performance analysis of Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications and remote development and debugging.

Besides the next-generation Constellation, which doubles storage capacity, number of processor cores and compute nodes, Sun is also using Supercomputing 2008 to preview the 'Genesis' storage array, 'Magnum' switch systems, the 'Glacier' cooling door and storage flash arrays.


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