Airbus Deploys Modular Supercomputer

An HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD) container being lowered into place at an Airbus facility.

Airbus, one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, has boosted its supercomputing power with the deployment of a high performance computing cluster housed in two containerized HP Performance Optimized Datacenters (PODs).

The announcement is the latest indicator of growing use of modular data centers in high performance computing, allowing enterprises and universities to quickly deploy computing capacity in existing real estate.

HP said the installation was “one of the first confirmed commercial HPC container contracts,” and ranks 29th among the world’s most powerful machines on TOP500 Supercomputer list published on June 20.

The two PODs were built and tested by HP and then delivered to Airbus sites in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. Each POD contains servers, storage, networking, software, management, and integrated power and cooling. A total of 2,016 clustered HP ProLiant BL280 G6 blade servers enable the two 12 meter-long containers to deliver the equivalent of nearly 1,000 square meters of data center space.

Last year the University of Colorado, which used a custom-built modular data center from Dell to deploy the Janus supercomputer, a 184 teraflop cluster on its Boulder campus. The system features 16,416 total cores in 1,368 nodes, housed in 342 chassis with four nodes apiece.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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