Liquid Computing Looks to Ramp Integration

The startup's server architecture looks to combine commodity and proprietary technology to offer better scalability and deployment.

A 3-year-old startup is rolling out a server platform that uses a combination of proprietary and commodity components to create an environment that can quickly and easily be deployed and scaled.

Liquid Computing on Oct. 30 is announcing the general availability of its Liquid IQ Interconnect Driven Server, which is powered by Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processorsand takes advantage of AMDs HyperTransport technology to offer a tightly integrated architecture that ties together computing, networking, memory and switches.

The company, which has offices in Los Altos, Calif., and Ottawa, Ontario, is aiming its offering at enterprise high-performance computing operations such as oil and gas, financial services, and government research.

"Its all of the components that make up a data center today that are converged into one [platform] and optimized in one server," said Keith Millar, vice president of product management.

Liquid Computing enters a competitive x86 server field dominated by such technology giants as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems, all of whom are looking to bring together hardware and software to make deployment and management of their systems easier.

But Liquid Computing is one of a number of newcomers looking for weaknesses in those programs as a way of gaining a foothold in the x86 server space. Earlier in October, Panta Systems, of Santa Clara, Calif., introduced its Pantamatrix system, which combines Opteron processors with a high-speed InfiniBand fabric to speed up data processing.

Pantas' new platform aims to solve bottlenecks at the interconnect level. Click here to read more.

Like those with Panta, Liquid Computing officials argue that the larger players have focused on processors—first over the years of constant speed upgrades, and now with the growth of multicore technology—at the expense of I/O and memory.

"Its becoming more and more of a communications game rather than a computational one," Millar said. "Its less and less about frequency. Now it's about communications."

He estimated that 30 percent of high-performance computing deployments are limited in some way by communications bottlenecks.

Better integration of the various components, helped in large part by HyperTransport, will mean better performance in a system that can scale quickly and is easier to manage and deploy, he said.

LiquidIQ's combination of integrated components and optimization software enables users to scale computer, interconnect and memory resources across 17 chassis, officials said.

The system currently supports Linux operating systems from Red Hat and Novell's SUSE Linux business, with support of Microsoft's Windows coming later, said Andrew Church, vice president of marketing at Liquid Computing. In addition, the company will add Intel processors, though officials declined to give a timetable.