Defence purchases AU$3.9m pilot supercomputer from HPE

The pilot high-performance computer is the first step in further investment, a department spokesperson told ZDNet.

The Australian Department of Defence has handed Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) AU$3.91 million to supply it with a "turnkey" pilot high-performance computing system.

According to a Defence spokesperson, the contract covers delivery and maintenance of a "modern" CPU and a GPU cluster, including storage and software.

The contract, spanning just over six months, will see the department explore the delivery of an enterprise high-performance computing capability for Defence.

"[It] is the first step in further investment in secure high performance computing and supercomputing," the spokesperson told ZDNet. "The pilot system will meet future Defence research and simulation requirements."

The capability will be used to research the design and performance of a variety of Defence platforms, while computational fluid dynamics on the pilot high-performance computer may be used to analyse fluid flow over aircraft, ships, or boat surfaces

See also: Supercomputers coming soon to an office near you (TechRepublic)

HPE previously provided the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) with a 3PAR SAN storage solution, upgraded by the IT firm back in 2015.

The storage hardware in question was seen by the ATO to be "state-of- the-art" at the time, with the ATO noting a year later it was "basically the same" hardware used by other large clients of HPE.

However, the SAN fell over in December 2016, with a report into the outages caused as a result pointing the finger directly at HPE.

"The turnkey service of data storage as per the 3PAR SAN provided by HPE failed us," Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan said at the time.

"The SAN design and configuration meant we had an overemphasis on performance features rather than stability or resilience -- a relatively small disk drive failure had a large impact -- only 12 of some 800 disk drives failed, but they impacted most ATO systems."

The ATO renegotiated its IT contract in December, giving DXC Technology a further AU$735 million for "centralised computing".

The contract, now worth AU$1.47 billion, is valid until the end of June 2019.

The original contract was awarded to HPE back in December 2010; however, DXC has emerged with the billion-dollar contract following a string of mergers and sector spin-outs.

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