HP Moves to Ease Cluster Management

The vendor is launching the Scalable Visualization Array, a cluster of HP workstations that run industry standard technologies and a software system designed to ease cluster management.

Hewlett-Packard Co. wants to ramp up the capabilities and bring down the costs of visualization technology for high-performance computing environments.

HP on Tuesday is launching the Scalable Visualization Array, or SVA, a cluster of HP workstations that run industry standard technologies and a software system designed to ease cluster management.

The SVA is one of several announcements HP is making at the Supercomputing 2005 show in Seattle.

About half of all HPC environments are now done with cluster technology, and offering visualization capabilities based on industry-standard products in a cluster platform makes sense, said Bruce Toal, marking director for HPs HPC business.

"[Clustering] is really driving the adoption of industry-standard technology in this area," Toal said.

Visualization is a key capability not only for scientific research but also for such industries as car manufacturing and oil and gas exploration. By using industry-standard technology, products like SVA enable many researchers to take advantage of visualization who otherwise couldnt have afforded it, he said.

The SVA is a cluster of HP workstations—the xw8200, based on Intel Corp.s Xeon processor, or the xw9300, which runs Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron chip and will be available in the first quarter 2006—running Linux and industry-standard graphics cards.

In addition, HP has added visualization extensions to clusters based on its XC System software, and its SVA software offering offers parallel, distributed rendering and composing. There also is optional software—HPs Remote Graphics software—for remote graphics.

Along with the SVA, HP also announced support for dual-gigabit Ethernet in its StorageWorks File Share software, which gives the bandwidth for Ethernet-connected clusters a 50 percent boost. HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., also increased the security of the software by adding support for Advanced Data Guard protection against failures, including double-simultaneous disk failure, and enhanced capabilities for detecting network failures.

/zimages/5/28571.gifHP looks to assist in mainframe-to-SOA transitions Click here to read more.

HP also will support Microsoft Corp.s Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003—set for release in the first half of 2006—in its Unified Cluster Portfolio, and that its HP Message Passing Interface will be ported to the Microsoft offering.

In addition, HP is bringing dual-core capabilities to its Cluster Platform products. Dual-core Xeons are now available as options in the ProLiant DL380 control nodes of the Cluster Platform 3000, and AMD Opteron chips are available with both the Cluster Platform 4000 and blade-based Cluster Platform 4000BL. The clusters come in configurations of up to 1,024 nodes.

HPs ClusterPack 2.4, running the companys Unix variant, HP-UX, offers new tools for better custom configuration and console management for clusters, and easier deployment of HP-UX clusters in production environments.

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