Sun builds Constellation of petascale supercomputing
New architecture built with standard components
Computerworld - Sun Microsystems Inc. is releasing a new high-performance computing (HPC) system that it said has the potential to create one of the largest supercomputers on the planet, reaching petascale.
Sun calls it the Constellation System. It's built on mainstream operating systems and hardware, but uses clusters and a new storage system, the Sun StorageTek 5800. That system can hold up to half a petabyte of storage per rack.
Sun's HPC cluster architecture uses chips from Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and its own UltraSparc chips, and it supports Linux, Solaris and Windows operating systems. Each chassis can hold up to 48 blades. Sun also designed this system with InfiniBand switches.
Bjorn Andersson, director of HPC and integrated systems at Sun, said HPC users have already been assembling components into large systems. What Sun has done is to take general-purpose, industry-standard products coupled with open-source software and "designed it as an open, scalable architecture," he said.
The Constellation system can scale up to 2 petaflops, said Andersson. (A petaflop is the equivalent of 1,000 trillion floating-point operations per second.)
A Linux-based Constellation-class system named "Ranger" using 15,000 AMD quad-core Barcelona chips is already under construction at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC). That system, which could become the world's largest supercomputer when it's completed next year, is capable of peak performance at 504 teraflops, or about half a petaflop.
The only limit to scaling the Constellation is the price tag associated with building out these systems. TACC representatives said the Texas system alone is costing some $30 million.
Sun hopes to make the Constellation easy to deploy and said that it is offering a service to build and configure to customer specifications. That kind of supercomputer-in-a-box approach is becoming common as vendors release products intended to make it easy for new HPC users to adopt the technologies.
Read more about Data Center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts