IBM Builds Blade-Powered Superclusters

IBM is rolling out new prepackaged and pretested superclusters that include its blade server technology.

IBM on Wednesday is rolling out new prepackaged and pretested superclusters that include its blade server technology.

The Intel-based eServer Cluster 1350 can be built with any combination of IBM BladeCenter systems, and x335 and x345 servers. The cluster can also include x345 or x360 server nodes or x345 management nodes. IBM preconfigures and pretests the clusters to ensure that the systems work together, said Tim Dougherty, director of blade strategy. All the systems run Intel Corp. Xeon processors up to 3.06GHz.

"[The systems used] are cheap, but in order to get the computing power you want out of them, you need a lot of them," said Dougherty, in Somers, N.Y.

Included in the package is IBMs Cluster Management Software, which automates repetitive jobs and error detection. The software used in the Cluster 1350 is a Linux version of the same software used by IBMs Deep Blue chess-playing supercomputer.

The 1350, which will be generally available June 6, also supports IBMs FAStT200 and FAStT700 storage; IBM also offers a Fibre Channel switch option for the BladeCenter chassis to address storage area networks.

Big Blue will include the Cluster 1350 systems in its Supercomputing on Demand facility in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Businesses in need of supercomputing power but that dont want to buy systems themselves can tap into the resources in the center, paying only for the power they use.

IBM more than a year ago rolled out the Cluster 1300, which includes older models of Intel-based systems and does not include blades, and the RISC-based Cluster e1600, powered by Unix-based pSeries systems. Dougherty said the 1350 eventually will replace the 1300, and that IBM in the future will come out with a new RISC-based supercluster. He declined to elaborate on the timetable.

Response to the first cluster offerings was good, he said, adding that "what youre going to see here is a bigger push by us to let customers know we can help them put these [superclusters] together."

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