Feeds

Sun's new supercomputer and switch are bigger than yours

Market's 90-pound weakling beefs up

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Why so huge? Bechtolsheim explains when it comes to InfiniBand, cables begin to cost more than the silicon itself. By putting everything in one box, he claims the switch has a 6:1 reduction in interconnected cables than if they used traditional switches to match the specs. Sun also decided to build its own because nobody has a switch large enough, and bottom line it was cheaper to make its own for the project.

Sun has yet to supply us with a picture of the Constellation

Sun PR has yet to supply us with a picture of Constellation

Sun will craft scaled down versions of the switch for HPC customers.

The "Constellation" boxes also tap Sun blade servers using AMD's forthcoming quad-core processors code-named Barcelona. These particular blades are new four-socket versions of Sun's recently released two-socket 6000 blades made specifically for high performance computing.

TACC's system will be outfitted with the blades in the next quarter, and the new blades will then be available to the not-so-general public in the fourth quarter.

Each Constellation configuration is centered around a design that accomdates 48 blades per rack with 16 cores per blade.

Sun won't talk exact price figures, but the total reward for the Ranger contract is $59m. Sun says the hardware cost is somewhere below that. The company will begin to assemble Ranger in TACC's new building constructed for the computer "shortly." It will take about two months to set up the beast. Cable assembly alone is expected to take about four weeks.

An exact time frame for Ranger's booting, however, remains hazy. A key ingredient is missing — the chips. Sun chose AMD's quad-core Barcelona for its superior floating point performance, but has yet to receive the package in the mail.

"We have a contract to get the chips in time for building the computer, but we haven't gotten them yet," Bechtolsheim said.

In fact, Sun is resting the entire Constellation line on its laurels while it waits for Barcelona's arrival. Sun assured reporters that the product launch it was announcing was not in fact a product launch, "but a strong indication that one is on the way." But trucks rolling into Texas full of Constellation systems destined for a newly-constructed building in an supercomputer center made keeping silent about the affair somewhat of a sticky wicket.

Sun's showdown will begin in Texas, but the company promises it is aggressively seeking bigger project bids. Bechtolsheim said he hopes to see Ranger in the top position in November's Top500 ranking of supercomputers. Even if a faster competitor pops up, he is sure it will make one of the top spots.

And then comes fruit baskets. Oh, the plantains are to die for! ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.