SGI Makes HPC Push with InfiniBand, 10GbE Support

SGI offers support for both on-board InfiniBand on its x86 Rackable servers. SGI officials said the move will make the systems more attractive for businesses looking to run HPC clusters. Moving deeper into the HPC space was a key driver behind Rackable's decision in April to spend $42.5 million to buy SGI.

SGI is rolling out servers that can support both on-board InfiniBand connectivity and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

SGI-formerly Rackable Systems-announced the new Rackable x86 servers June 24. The system are designed for industries, such as oil and gas, financial services, research and engineering, that run HPC (high-performance computing) environments, said Giovanni Coglitore, senior vice president and chief products officer at SGI.

"Our upgraded Rackable servers are optimized to manage a complex workflow and allow applications to attain high performance without the I/O bottlenecks associated with higher latency and lower bandwidth solutions," Coglitore said in a statement.

Rackable in May closed its $42.5 million deal to buy Silicon Graphics, and assumed the SGI name-for Silicon Graphics International.

At the time of the deal's announcement in April, Rackable CEO Mark Barrenechea said the deal would enable the company to expand into areas that it hadn't before, including HPC. Barrenechea pointed to IDC numbers indicating that the HPC market will grow to $11 billion in 2012 as a driver for buying SGI. A year earlier, SGI-already a player in the HPC field-had bought Linux Networks to help it grow in the space.

The new Rackable servers are the first step by the newly combined company to expand its HPC reach.

SGI is offering dual Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable ports running at 40Gb InfiniBand and 10GbE speeds. The company is now offering Mellanox InfiniBand technology across its Rackable server lines, including the Foundation and CloudRack series.

The servers, powered by Intel's Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" processors, also offer other HPC features, including large memory capability with up to 96GB of ECC registered DDR3 DIMMs, high I/O configurations with expanded numbers of expansion slots and support for Fibre Channel HBAs (host bus adapters) and other cards, and support for switches from Mellanox Technologies, Voltaire and Qlogic.