Sun polishes up its Constellation HPC system

The company has upgraded software and hardware in its Constellation System supercomputer platform, in part to provide better support for cloud computing
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Sun has updated its Constellation System for high-performance computing, covering software, networking and storage.

On Tuesday, the company announced a new quad data rate (QDR) switch, new cluster deployment software, and a revamp to its grid-computing engine that is designed to provide better support for private and public clouds.

Sun first introduced its Constellation System HPC platform in 2007, mostly targeting research centres. The petascale computing environment is used in two of the world's 10 largest supercomputing systems, according to Sun. Rival providers include IBM, Platform Computing and Cray.

The expansion of the portfolio is meant to help companies "take advantage of next-generation technologies to scale their HPC systems and eliminate bottlenecks so they can manage explosive data growth, rising costs and server sprawl," John Fowler, an executive in Sun's systems group, said in a statement.

On the networking side, the new InfiniBand QDR Switch 648 provides up to three times more ports per rack and four-and-a-half times more system bandwidth than double data rate (DDR) switches, according to Sun.

In addition, Sun has released the second Linux edition of Sun's HPC Software to provide an integrated Linux software stack, with a choice of Suse 10, CentOS and Red Hat operating systems.

For storage, Sun's Lustre distributed file system has been tweaked to include features such as adaptive timeouts and version-based recovery.

The company has also introduced new and updated open-source software for setting up HPC systems. Sun Grid 6.2 Engine Update 3 brings several enhancements to the grid-computing engine. These include a service domain manager (SDM) cloud adapter, which provides an interface for managing Amazon EC2 machine images, and a new graphical monitoring interface for Sun Grid Engine clusters and SDM instances.

The portfolio also gets an upgrade for Sun Studio 12, the company's high-performance parallel application development suite, and a new developer edition of Sun HPC software that combines the developer software with OpenSolaris in a virtual machine.

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