Feeds

Cray places order for Opteron Helper

FPGA supercomputer booster

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Cray has turned to a small start-up for possible help with its grand plan to win a multi-million dollar contract from the US government.

Cray this week announced that it will use a specialized coprocessor from DRC to slot into its Opteron-based systems. The DRC product – an FPGA (field programmable gate array) module – will allow Cray's supercomputers to churn through specific workloads such as algorithms and subroutines at a much quicker pace than standard Opteron chips alone. Cray plans to use FPGA-ready servers as one piece of its "Cascade" project that is competing with rival projects from Sun Microsystems and IBM for a piece of a $200m DARPA contract.

Cray has been going the FPGA route for quite awhile, and, in fact, purchased OctigaBay in 2004 to boost these efforts. The OctigaBay gear was turned into the XD1 systems, which can have up to 144 Opteron chips. Each XD1 chassis can currently hold up to six Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGAs.

Now, however, customers will use the DRC FPGA modules in Cray's future Cascade gear. DRC has separated itself from other companies by creating a module that plugs right into Opteron sockets. We wrote about the DRC product last month in detail.

Cray expects the DRC product to plug into its SeaStar interconnect.

"Interfacing FPGAs directly into Cray's interconnect allows multiple system processors to interact with multiple FPGAs in any ratio the customer may require," said Jan Silverman, an SVP at Cray.

Cray must like what it sees in the "industry standard" sort of approach presented by DRC. The start-up only employs about 13 people at the moment, although it's looking to bulk up staff due to heightened recent interest in its gear.

Cray declined to comment on the financial terms behind the DRC deal or whether or not it made an investment in the company. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?