Sun Bulks Up HPC System with Software, Storage Offerings

At the International Supercomputing Conference, Sun Microsystems is bringing a host of new and enhanced additions to its Sun Constellation supercomputer, touching on everything from software to storage to networking. In addition, Sun is previewing its upcoming Sun Blade systems that will be powered by AMD's new Opteron processors code-named Istanbul, which will complement the servers Sun rolled out in April based on Intel's new chip microarchitecture and chips code-named Nehalem EP.

Sun Microsystems is upgrading the capabilities of its 2-year-old Sun Constellation System supercomputer with enhanced networking, storage and software capabilities.

Sun officials announced the new features June 23 at the International Supercomputing Conference, in Hamburg, Germany. Sun also will be demonstrating other HPC (high-performance computing) technologies at the show.

Michael Brown, marketing manager for HPC at Sun, said the company is expanding the capabilities of its supercomputer at a time when the field is expanding, with midmarket companies showing greater interest in HPC systems.

"What we're seeing is a move into the midmarket and the departmental [space]," Brown said in an interview before the start of the show, which runs June 23 to 26.

Sun is introducing its Datacenter InfiniBand QDR Switch 648, an 11U (19.25-inch) product that offers up to three times more ports per racks, 4.5 times the bandwidth and a third of the cabling of competitive DDR (double data rate) switch offerings, according to Sun. Users can run up to 648 non-blocking ports, Brown said.

"It's a good, midrange supercomputer," he said. "Many of the [businesses looking for] midrange systems are really space-conscious."

Sun, which is in the process of being bought by Oracle for $7.4 billion, also is previewing 36- and 72-port InfiniBand offerings, which are very dense in design and good for midrange operations and clusters, Brown said.

In addition, Sun is upgrading its Linux-based HPC software. Sun HPC Software, Linux Edition 2.0 offers an integrated Linux HPC software stack, making it easier to install Linux-based supercomputing environments. Users can run SUSE 10, CentOS and Red Hat Linux.

Other software upgrades include Sun Studio 12 Update 1, which is designed to make it easier for programmers to design high-performance parallel applications for multicore x86 and SPARC-based systems, and Sun HPC ClusterTools 8.2, which offers MPI libraries and run-time environments based on Open MPI and is supported by Sun on both Solaris and Linux.

Sun Grid Engine 6.2 Update 3 upgrades support for both private and public (Amazon EC2) clouds, as well as adding monitoring of compute clusters and the Service Domain Manager from one place. Sun xVM Ops Center 2.1 offers key bug fixes, integrates patches and introduces a host of functional and usability enhancements.

Sun HPC Software, Developer Edition 1.0 for OpenSolaris bundles the latest HPC developer software from the vendor with OpenSolaris in a virtual machine.

"We're revising everything in software," Brown said.