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Cray Gets $40 Million DOD Contracts for Supercomputers

The company will deliver three XC30 supercomputers and two Sonexion storage systems to sites in Ohio and Mississippi.

Cray is getting contracts worth more than $40 million from the Department of Defense for supplying three supercomputers and two high-end storage systems.

Under one contract, Cray will bring an XC30 supercomputer and a Sonexion storage system to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, according to company officials. The other contract calls for Cray to deliver two of the supercomputers and another Sonexian system to the U.S. Navy's DOD Supercomputing Resource Center (Navy DSRC) at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

According to officials with the DOD's High Performance Computing (HPC) Modernization Program, the new systems are part of an effort to keep the systems used by engineers and researchers up-to-date.

"Supercomputing is a critical enabler for the wide variety of science, technology, test, evaluation, and acquisition engineering communities that the DOD HPC Modernization Program supports," John West, director of the program, said in a statement. "These new systems are a key component of our strategy of making sure the DOD's scientists and engineers have access to the most modern, capable, and usable computational tools available."

Cray launched the XC30 supercomputer line in 2012, which was followed last year by the introduction of the smaller and lower-cost XC30-AC system. The XC30 is powered by Intel's Xeon server chips and can also leverage Xeon Phi coprocessors from Intel and GPU accelerators from Nvidia to improve performance without a significant increase in power consumption. The supercomputer also hosts a range of Cray technologies, including its Aries high-performance interconnect, Dragonfly network technology and the highly scalable Cray Linux Environment. The XC30 is liquid-cooled via a traverse airflow technology, while the XC30-AC is cooled by air.

The Sonexion offering is a scale-out Lustre storage system and is aimed at speeding up the time to results and simplifying integration and management of the open-source Lustre software. According to Cray officials, the storage systems being sent to the Air Force and Navy will offer more than 6 petabytes of storage capacity across both systems, and a performance of a third of a terabyte per second.