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HP gets visual with workstation clusters

Blades, chips and software too

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SC05 HP continues to refine its server cluster arsenal, announcing this week a new visualization package, more software and fresh processors for its pre-packaged systems.

The HP Scalable Visualization Array (SVA) combines numerous workstations, Linux and graphics cards to give customers a graphics powerhouse. The new system will be used to handle clustered parallel visualization software, display high-resolution images and perform real-time rendering. HP will slot the SVA product into its Unified Cluster Portfolio line that includes systems which hold more than 1,000 processors.

With SVA, HP will support Version 3.0 of the XC System Software for managing clusters and application workloads. In addition, it will ship the Scalable Visualization Array software for configuring the systems and sending jobs to the boxes. The HP SFS and Remote Graphics packages can be purchased as options.

Customers will also find Version 2.4 of the HP ClusterPack for HP-UX available. The fresh release should make Unix clusters easier to manage by allowing new systems to be added to a cluster with minimal overall disruption. The software now works with HP Systems Insight Manager.

On the hardware front, HP has added Intel's dual-core "Paxville" version of Xeon as an option with its pre-packaged clusters. Customers could already buy systems with the dual-core Opteron chip from AMD. In addition, customers can now tap HP's full line of blade servers with the clusters.

HP has also made it easier for customers to buy its cluster boxes. You can now cruise to HP's web site and configure systems with up to 32 servers, varying processors, memory, interconnects and software. HP will then process the order and deliver a quote to the user.

Last but not least, HP vowed to support Microsoft's upcoming Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 operating system, which was also discussed today at the Supercomputing conference here. In the first half of next year, HP will ship the OS an option with its Cluster Platform 3000 and 4000 systems and the Platform 4000 blade boxes. HP also plans to port its message passing interface (HP-MPI) to Microsoft's specialized version of Windows. ®

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