HPC Roundup: SGI, Intel, Hardcore, Super Micro

SGI launches InfiniteStorage 5500, Intel outlines its Exaflop vision, Hardcore and Super Micro demonstrate Liquid Blade server, NetApp E5400 enhanced and benchmarked.

John Rath

June 23, 2011

4 Min Read
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Here’s a roundup of some of this week’s headlines from the HPC (High Performance Computing) industry:

SGI launches InfiniteStorage 5500. SGI introduced InfiniteStorage (IS) 5500, a next generation storage platform. Built with an innovative modular design for extreme density and scalability, the IS5500 offers exceptional performance for high-bandwidth and high-IOPS applications with enterprise-class reliability. It is targeted at big-bandwidth applications such as full-motion video, data analytics and VMware and HyperV environments. The IS5500 can intermix multiple drive types and enclosure densities in a single, scalable system, and features fully redundant I/O paths with automated failover, dual-active, hot-swappable controllers and components, mirrored data cache with battery backup that is de-staged to flash, and hardware-based RAID 6 for maximum performance.  SGI also announced that NASA's Pleiades supercomputer system, built with Altix ICE technology, has achieved more than one petaflop per second in sustained compute performance and moved into the number 7 spot on the June 2011 Top500 list of supercomputer sites in the world.  In this video SGI CTO Dr. Eng Lim Goh explains how they are collaborating with Intel to achieve an exaflop by 2018.

Intel equipped to lead path to Exascale computing. At the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), Kirk Skaugen, Intel (INTC) vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group, outlined the company's vision to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by the end of this decade. An ExaFLOP/s is quintillion computer operations per second, hundreds times more than today’s fastest supercomputers. “While Intel Xeon processors are the clear architecture of choice for the current TOP500 list of supercomputers, Intel is further expanding its focus on high-performance computing by enabling the industry for the next frontier with our MIC (Many Integrated Core) architecture for petascale and future exascale workloads,” said Skaugen. “Intel is uniquely equipped with unparalleled manufacturing technologies, new architecture innovations and a familiar software programming environment that will bring us closer to this exciting exascale goal.” Addressing the significant increase in power consumption needs, Skaugen explained that Intel and European researchers have established three labs with three goals: to create a sustained partner presence in Europe; take advantage of the growing relevance of European high-performance computing (HPC) research; and exponentially grow capabilities in computational science, engineering and strategic computing. Intel also products from SGI, Dell, HP, IBM, Colfax and Super Micro, all of which are working with Intel to plan products based on “Knights Corner," the code name for the first Intel MIC product.

Hardcore and Super Micro demonstrate Liquid Blade Server.  Hardcore Computer joined Super Micro Computer at the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Hamburg, Germany Monday where they showcased its revolutionary Liquid Blade server. Liquid Blade employs Hardcore Computer’s patented total liquid submersion cooling technology.“Hardcore Computer’s Liquid Blade total submersion technology is the future of high-performance computing and general data center cooling." It is an elegant, extremely energy efficient solution that allows for peak system performance," said CTO and Co-Founder of Hardcore Computer Chad Attlesey. “Our patented liquid submersion cooling also allows our Detonator workstations to deliver dual 4.8GHz Intel Westmere CPUs on a custom platform engineered for speed and reliability.”

NetApp E5400 benchmarked and enhanced.  NetApp (NTAP) announced that the E5400 has been benchmarked for use with the Lustre file system, an open-sourced high-performance file system used by the majority of organizations on the Supercomputer 500 list. In a combined testbed NetApp and Whamcloud used a 4U storage system to achieve 5GB/s for read performance and 3.5GB/s for write performance with the E5400. This combination enables customers with a 40U rack to achieve up to 50GB/s in read performance per rack. "Teaming with NetApp to provide expanded support options for Lustre environments gives a distinct advantage to our HPC customers,” said Brent Gorda, CEO, Whamcloud. “We're extremely excited with the benchmarking of the E5400 with Lustre in the Lawrence Livermore Hyperion test bed. Lustre is gaining in importance within the HPC community, and working closely with NetApp allows our two companies to deliver outstanding support services, ensuring that customers get the most out of their Lustre environments.” New features available on the E5400 include support for three drive enclosures and multiple drive technologies, as well as scalability to 600 drives per 40U. A New 40Gb InfiniBand interface option is available and can be integrated into InfiniBand infrastructures for flexibility in any high-performance storage network.

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