Cray Gets $30 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

The systems vendor will supply two XC40 supercomputers and two Sonexian storage systems to a Navy computing center in Mississippi.

Cray supercomputer

Cray continues to rack up the supercomputing contracts, with the latest one a $30 million deal for two supercomputers and two storage systems at a U.S. Navy site in Mississippi.

The system vendor on Dec. 15 said the contract with the Department of Defense calls for the installation of two XC40 supercomputers and two Sonexian storage systems at the Navy's Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) at the John C. Stennis Space Center. The systems will be installed next year, according to Cray officials.

The contract is part of the Department of Defense's (DoD) larger High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP). The initiative is more than 20 years old and is designed to bring high-performance computing (HPC), networking and computational expertise to DoD scientists, researchers and engineers for a broad range of research, development and test applications. The Navy DSRC will use the Cray systems for work in coastal-ocean circulation and wave-model oceanography that will result in products that will be used by the Navy and DoD around the world.

The XC40s will offer the Navy center a more than 2.5-times increase in the site's computing capabilities, according to Christine Cuicchi, director of HPC centers for the HPCMP. The program has spent more than $150 million for supercomputers in 2014.

The Navy DSRC is one of five supercomputing centers established by the HPCMP, according to Cray.

The systems vendor introduced the XC40 in September. The new supercomputer is powered by Intel's latest Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors and can support both GPU accelerators from Nvidia and Intel's Xeon Phi x86-based coprocessors. The XC40 offers twice the performance over the XC30, which was launched two years ago. The new supercomputer comes with such technologies from Cray as DataWarp I/O acceleration, which connects solid-state drives (SSDs) directly to the compute nodes; Dragonfly network topology; and the Aries system interconnect.

The XC40 is liquid-cooled and offers up to 384 sockets and up to 226 teraflops of performance per cabinet, according to Cray officials. There also is the smaller and less dense air-cooled XC40-AC.

The $30 million contract helps wrap up what has been a strong year for Cray. The company has won a number of major contacts, such as a $174 million contract from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration for a supercomputer to help manage the country's nuclear stockpile; a $128 million contract to supply supercomputers to the Met Office, the United Kingdom's national weather service; and a $40 million one from the DoD in February for three supercomputers and two storage systems.

In October, Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro noted that revenue in the third quarter was $159.4 million, almost three times what the company saw during the same period last year, and made $7.4 million. A year ago in the third quarter, Cray lost $11 million.

"It's really been an incredible run of wins for us," Ungaro said during a conference call to discuss the third-quarter numbers.