One of the mainstays of Sun Microsystems' business over the 26 years of its existence has been high-performance computing. On Nov. 18, at the Supercomputing conference in Austin, Texas, Sun unveiled a list of new products aimed squarely at that market.
Sun introduced new preconfigured clustered storage and computing hardware-software packages and new data center management software designed specifically for HPC shops-facilities that include such well-known national labs as National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
"We've made significant upgrades all across the board in our HPC line, from storage, to interconnect, to fabric and compute," John Fowler, Sun's executive vice president of systems, told me. "We've doubled the performance of the fabric, we've added new processors and cooling solutions to the compute side, and we've significantly expanded the storage element."
Sun's new Open Storage Cluster package, which comes as a preintegrated bundle, combines Sun Fire servers and hybrid data servers with the open-source Lustre file system and a high-speed interconnect. Storage Cluster enables users to scale capacity from 48TB to multiple petabytes and performance from 1GB per second to more than 100GB per second.
Sun's Compute Cluster, also a preintegrated bundle, is aimed at small to midsize data centers that run computing-intensive applications, such as analysis, signal processing, trading and CAE/EDA (electronic design automation).
This preconfigured HPC scalable cluster uses Sun Fire rack-mounted or blade servers with preloaded open-source software. The interconnects are either InfiniBand or high-bandwidth Ethernet.
"You may not know that nine of the top 10 supercomputers in the world are using Sun storage products-including Lustre [which Sun uses in all its servers and arrays], archive products and related software," Fowler said. "Fifty percent of the top 50 [supercomputer systems] are now using Lustre.
"'Amber Road' [Sun's new high-throughput storage appliance] will also be of particular interest to HPC customers-they, of course, are using enterprise storage, and they're always interested in performance and cost points," Fowler said.
Finally, Sun announced a list of open-source software releases designed to simplify these HPC deployments. They include: Lustre 1.8, which introduces version-based recovery, interoperability with 1.6 clients and adaptive time-out; Sun HPC ClusterTools 8.1, which includes processor affinity support, a high-performance MPI and parallel job launcher; and Sun HPC Software, Linux Edition 2.0, which provides Linux users with a ready-made software stack for HPC clusters.