Appro Plans On-Demand Supercomputing for Petroleum Industry

The company's Compute on Demand Center in Houston will enable businesses to access large amounts of compute power for their compute-intensive applications without having to buy more systems.

Systems maker Appro International Inc. is planning an on-demand supercomputing service aimed at the oil and gas industry.

The companys Compute on Demand Center, housed in CyrusOnes data center in Houston, will enable businesses to access large amounts of compute power for their compute-intensive applications without having to buy more systems. CyrusOne is an IT service provider to the energy industry.

Appro will detail the service this week at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Show in Houston. The center is scheduled to open early in the first quarter.

The center also will be available for businesses in other industries that need additional computing capacity, according Appro officials.

The announcement of the center comes a week after Appro, of Milpitas, Calif., rolled out two new rack-mount servers powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processor.

Businesses can sign up for the service in blocks of time, paying only for the compute resources used during that time. Because the facility is housed within CyrusOnes data center, businesses also have access to a host of services and support. The location also offers a proven level of security, Appro officials said.

The number of nodes will ramp to 2,000 during the first half of 2006, and will be based on dual-core technology from both AMD and Intel Corp. The high-speed interconnect InfiniBand, as well as high-speed storage, also will be used, they said.

The sale of compute power as a service is increasing in popularity among systems makers. IBM has opened four supercomputing centers around the world. In August 2004, the Armonk, N.Y., company opened a Deep Computing Capacity on Demand center in Houston aimed at the energy industry.

In February, Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., launched the Sun Grid, which enables users to access compute resources—including both UltraSPARC systems and servers running on Opteron processors—hosted in several global data centers for $1 per CPU hour. Users also can access the Sun Grid storage utility.

In addition, Appro last week unveiled two new Opteron-based systems, the 1U (1.75-inches) and 3U (5.25-inches) XtremeServers. Both run on single- or dual-core Opterons. The two-socket 1U system offers up to 664GB of on-board memory, and up to 800GB Serial ATA or 292GB SCSI hot-swappable drives.

The four-socket 3U server offers up to 128GB of on-board memory through eight DIMM sockets per CPU, up to 2.4TB SATA or 876GB SCSI hot-swappable drives, and redundant fans and power supplies.

/zimages/4/28571.gif"Fabric computing architecture" allows data center resources to be shared according to business needs without interfering with the ongoing operations. Click here to read more.

Both systems can be remotely managed through Appros ServerDome software, which is IPMI 2.0-compliant and works with both Linux and Microsoft Corp.s Windows.

The 1U XtremeServer is available immediately, starting at $2,610. The 3U system will be available later this quarter, starting at $15,753.

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