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August 7, 2009

SGI launches new range of scalable workgroup level clusters

Fills in product portfolio from standalone to data rack

By CBR Staff Writer


The first new product to come out of the merger of data centre server supplier Rackable Systems with the high-performance computing vendor of Silicon Graphics Inc is a highly scalable workgroup cluster.

“The system fills a big gap in the combined product portfolios of the companies, sitting between workstation and data centre level rack clusters,” SGI’s Geoff Noer told us.

It extends the reach of the company’s product line and signals the advent of scalable workgroup level clusters, which are suited to HPC, graphics and internet applications in departmental engineering and laboratory environments.

Typically, in these scenarios SGI systems are used to run computational structural mechanics, fluid dynamics, electro-magnetics, seismic processing, rendering and visualisation applications.

Back in April the high-end graphics workstation supplier filed for Chapter 11 protection, claiming to be $526 million in debt with assets worth just $390 million. It and all of its subsidiaries were sold for just $25 million in cash to Rackable.

Now the enlarged company has around 6,000 customers and a staff of 1,300 who are busy working on a combined product roadmap.

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This first release is being positioned as the start of a new chapter. “It’s evidence that the combined company is working well together. The CloudRack was part of the Rackable product portfolio, and we have added to the mix by bringing in the HPC and graphics support.”

The New CloudRack X2 line is said to be highly scalable and very power efficient. It has a small form factor and can be expanded from a free standing unit to up to 216 cores, held in a industry standard 19-inch data centre rack.

“The price-performance per Watt of the system is extremely impressive. And all the power and cooling is done at the container enclosure level. It is a radical departure,” Noer said. The systems are claimed to be 93% efficient in power use and 99% efficient in 12VDC power distribution.

The hardware can be custom configured and there is a catalogue of well over 50 compatible HPC applications that could be hosted.

The company said CloudRack X2 is also designed for large scale-out deployments into existing rack environments. The 14U high CloudRack X2 has capacity for up to nine CloudRack server trays and comes with hot-swappable components.

Most CloudRack trays include support for up to either six or eight SATA or SAS hard drives in 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch form factors with Solid State Disks (SSD) available for applications that need particularly high performance and reliability.

SGI said that CloudRack X2 is available immediately with trays supporting Internet and HPC applications with graphics and additional HPC trays to come later this third quarter.


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