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Linux Networx unleashes designer Opteron beast

Sleek, silver and huge

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SC05 Linux Networx may well win the cluster fashion awards at this year's Supercomputing conference with its new LS Series systems.

The cluster specialist has kicked off a new era with the announcement of the LS-1 and LS/X hardware. The LS-1 comes in two flavors - a half- and full-rack - and is aimed at customers who want a high-performing box but don't want to deal with massive configuration and cooling issues. The larger LS/X system brings more of the supercomputer-level performance customers have come to expect from Linux Networx.

Both boxes carry a design far superior to the custom Evolocity systems Linux Networx has sold to date. The systems are sleek and boast a crisp silvery finish. If having a pretty data center is important to you, then you'll want to check out this kit. (You can see the LS-1 here and the LS/X 1 here.)

There is function behind the form. Linux Networx has used a specialized design to help keep its massive systems cool, and part of the outer casing on its boxes works to pull and push air through the hardware.

In fact, Linux Networx reckons that the midrange LS-1 systems can work without the aid of specialized data centers. Bio-tech firms, for example, could set up a box directly in a lab.

The LS-1 runs on dual-core Opteron chips from AMD and can hold 128 dual-socket nodes. Linux Networx will support Intel's Xeon “Dempsey” chip when it starts shipping next year. The kit starts at $40,000 for a 16-processor system and reaches up to $130,00 for a 64-processor box.

The LS/X box can sale up to 6,144 processors, making it a true supercomputing beast. Linux Networx has used a crafty architecture for improving message passing performance and reducing cabling with this system. It taps PathScale’s InfinPath technology to link into AMD’s HyperTransport on the Opteron chips.

Both the LS-1 and LS/X ship in limited quantities this quarter and in volume early next year.

Linux Networx, while well-funded, faces an uphill battle in the coming years. Giants IBM, HP, Dell and Sun Microsystems have started selling standard cluster packages. Linux Networx, however, hopes to maintain a R&D edge through its hardware and software, storage and networking complementary products. The company expects to be profitable in the coming year. ®

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