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By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2007-06-26 Print this article Print

Not to be outdone, Sun will debut its Constellation supercomputer in Dresden on June 26. While not as large as IBMs Blue Gene, it promises to deliver nearly 2 petaflops of performance. The Constellation is the result of collaboration between Sun and the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas in Austin. It features 82 SunFire blade servers, two Sun Magnum ultra-dense switches, an Infiniband host interface (with 288 ports), next-generation Mellanox HCA (high-contrast addressing) and a Sun Fire X4500 storage cluster with 480TB per rack.
The core switch supports up to 3,456 nodes, and each custom rack supports 48 server modules, chief architect Andy Bechtolsheim said.
The Constellation also features Solaris, Linux, OpenMPI, Open InfiniBand interfaces and management, x64 Computing Architecture, and InfiniBand DDR interconnect. Its compute speed is estimated at 1.7 petaflops, and it will store up to 10 petabytes of data, Bechtolsheim said. This will be the second Constellation system built by Sun, which constructed a similar system for Tokyo Tech last year. Nvidia offers high-performance computing based on GPU technology. Click here to read more. The Constellation is expected to be one of if not the most powerful computing platforms in the world, Bechtolsheim—one of the four co-founders of Sun in 1982—told a group of journalists and analysts in a preview session last week in Menlo Park, Calif. "This will easily outperform any computer on the list right now," Bechtolsheim said. "Its 20 times faster than any of them. But we have to make it a reality first." "Were hoping we can get this thing built and operational before the November Top 500 computer listing is made," Bechtolsheim said. "But were still waiting on the availability of the chips." The Constellation will run on Advanced Micro Devices quad-core Opteron processors, dubbed "Barcelona," which have not yet been released, Bechtolsheim said. "Of course, we have our in-house chips, which we used to test capabilities, but we dont have the production-ready ones yet. [AMD is] supposed to be getting them to us very soon," Bechtolsheim said. "But what is good is that a lot of the technology and good ideas that go into these machines will eventually make it into our personal computers at some point. Sort of like NASA and all the technology it buys over the years." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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