November 11, 2005
Sun Microsystems Inc. has announced the opening of its Sun Solution Center for High Performance Computing, a testing and benchmarking facility for x64 (x86, 64-bit) systems. This new facility will offer customers access to large-scale HPC solutions to help them build and achieve terascale clusters, as well as offer benefits and insight for experimenting, benchmarking, testing and optimizing scalable Grid-based applications in industries such as energy, manufacturing, life sciences, education and research.
By utilizing factory-integrated building blocks delivered through the Sun Customer Ready Systems (CRS) program, the facility was able to build a 10-teraFLOP cluster comprising 27 Sun Grid Rack Systems in just a few months. The facility runs more than 600 Sun Fire x64 multi-core servers powered with the AMD Opteron processor. Customers can test their applications here with an option of running their applications on Solaris 10, or standard distributions of Linux and Windows.
According to Sun, an equivalent center running Intel Xeon or Itanium processor-based servers could result in annual power-cooling costs of up to 15 percent higher for Xeon processor-based servers and up to 64 percent higher for Itanium processor-based servers. An equivalent center running Sun Fire x64 servers powered with AMD Opteron processors could result in cost savings of as much as $282,000 per year.
The center also acts as a proof-of-concept facility where customers and partners can simulate their environment by testing and fine-tuning specific applications to achieve optimal performance. Customers can test and collaborate on HPC solutions through a Grid infrastructure, using Grid-based technologies such as the Sun N1 Grid Engine and N1 Systems Manager software for systems management.
Customers such as Aachen University and the University of Clemson have promised to use the new facility for testing upcoming HPC projects. The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research has selected Sun to serve as its exclusive technology partner.
"With the new Sun Solution Center for HPC we can test and tune our Grid-based application, leveraging the highest-performance x64 servers in the market," said Jim Leylek, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson's ICAR. "Through its high performance, low cost and easy to deploy offerings, Sun is making HPC production ready and accessible."
As the need for computational power grows, scientists, researchers and engineers need to run simulations that require thousands of times more compute power than current systems deliver. A cost-effective way to meet this need is with clusters of systems, such as Sun's terascale clusters, with many thousands of compute nodes. However, managing large-scale clusters can be extremely challenging to deploy, operate effectively, power and cool. The Sun Fire x64 servers powered with AMD Opteron processors are designed to address these issues and deliver the performance and power efficiency required to make large-scale computing more practical to operate and available to customers -- regardless of geographic location.
"Today's announcement marks another milestone in delivering solutions for HPC and supercomputing. By leveraging Sun's decades of innovation and expertise, customers can use the Sun Solution Center for HPC to quickly and cost-effectively deploy large cluster systems. In addition, the power efficiency of our Sun Fire x64 servers makes large-scale computing a viable option for many customers," said John Fowler, executive vice president of Network Systems Group at Sun. "As HPC capabilities grow from teraFLOPS today, to petaFLOPS in the near future, Sun's world-class technologies and the growth of the Sun Solution Center for HPC can help our customers innovate and lead in this market."
A key to the development of the Sun Solution Center for HPC is Sun's partnerships with Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the developer of the Opteron processor, along with SilverStorm Technologies, the provider of the center's InfinBand cluster.
"Collaborating with innovative companies such as Sun to develop state-of-the-art solutions that can later be deployed in more general compute environments is at the heart of what AMD does," said Ben Williams, vice president of commercial business at AMD. "Sun's HPC technologies are making headway in the commercial market for their ability to help companies accelerate time-to-solution, design superior products, and reduce costs. Together, Sun and AMD can offer customers leading-edge technology like AMD's revolutionary Direct Connect Architecture and industry leading performance-per-watt, providing cost-effective, high-performance solutions to IT environments today."
"The Sun Solution Center for HPC demonstrates how InfiniBand can provide industry-leading performance for Grid supercomputing interconnects," said Russ Hawkins, CEO at SilverStorm. "By matching leading price/performance components from SilverStorm, Sun and AMD, enterprise customers can manage and deploy HPC applications with a competitive advantage."
In addition to being a benchmarking facility, the Sun Solution Center for HPC will provide support for customers deploying large-scale compute cluster environments, making petascale clusters possible. The center will host Sun's newest technologies, offering customers the opportunity to test applications and achieve optimal performance. It will also combine the efforts and expertise of the Sun Customer Ready Systems program, the strategic benchmarking group, and the HPC solution group to give the customer a more complete solution for computing.
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