SRC Makes Move Into Commercial Server Space With Saturn 1
The vendor, which has sold systems to defense agencies, claims its FPGA architecture offers a 100-fold performance boost over Intel-based servers.For the past dozen-plus years, SRC Computers has been selling a range of high-performance computing solutions to defense and intelligence agencies, building a successful business while staying under the radar in a server market dominated by the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. The company was launched with the mission of developing a new computing platform that included integrated hardware and software by an engineering team that created more than 1,000 patents and spent more than $100 million in development. SRC offers a range of servers, from rack-mounted 1U (1.75-inch) and 2U (3.5-inch) systems to highly scalable offerings. Founded in 1996 by Jim Guzy and Seymour R. Cray (the "SRC" in the company's name and the founder of supercomputer maker Cray), SRC is making its first foray into the commercial server market with a compute module aimed at the growing hyperscale and Web-scale computing spaces. SRC said the new module will offer 100 times the performance of traditional systems powered by Intel's x86 server processors. SRC announced the Saturn 1 on May 28. It is a dynamically reconfigurable server based on a new computing architecture that leverages field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in a way that enables customers to significantly speed up performance and use 1 percent of the power and space of traditional servers at about 25 percent of the cost.
The Saturn 1 is designed to enable FPGAs to run hyperscale and Web-scale workloads much faster than x86 chips from t Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, according to David Eaton, vice president of sales and marketing at SRC. The growing demand for greater performance-per-watt from servers and for greater data center capacity is putting strains on x86 processors, Eaton told eWEEK. Server makers are throwing thousands of general-purpose chips at workloads that are based on very specific applications.