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.
Sun Storage, Flash, Blades
Sun also is making a number of moves with its storage offerings. Lustre 1.9.0 offers new features designed to improve system performance, including adaptive timeouts, OSS read caching and version-based recovery.
Sun also is previewing a high-density offering within its Sun Storage 7000 “Amber Road” family, which will offer up to 1.5 petabytes of capacity and will integrate SSD (solid-state drive) storage and Sun’s Fishworks management software, Brown said. The new storage system will enable users to scale up their storage with no point of failure, he said.
In another preview, Sun is showing off its flash array for the enterprise, with up to 2TB of storage in a 1U (1.75-inch) system. It will offer I/O rates equivalent to 3,000 disk drives while consuming 300 watts of power, which fits well with the push for more energy-efficient data centers, Brown said.
Sun has made it a priority to use flash memory throughout its server and storage hardware lineup, saying it offers better throughput, lower latency and improved energy efficiency over traditional storage technologies.
Also at the HPC show, Sun will demonstrate its upcoming Sun Blade X6240 and Sun Blade X6440 systems, both powered by Advanced Micro Devices’ new six-core “Istanbul” Opteron processor. The systems will offer up to 12 teraflops of performance per rack, Brown said.
The new Istanbul systems complement the servers that Sun introduced in April in conjunction with Intel’s release of its Xeon 5500 Series “Nehalem EP” processors.
All the new offerings introduced and previewed at the supercomputing show will be released throughout the end of 2009, Brown said.