Feeds

IBM lands 25 teraflop iDataplex cluster in Bluegrass State

Louisville slugger

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

IBM has signed up another customer for its iDataplex super-dense x64 rack servers, this time landing the University of Louisville in Kentucky, which has bought a 25 teraflops cluster of these funky machines.

The cluster - which is nicknamed Cardinal after the school mascot - will be configured with 5.2 TB of main memory and 100 TB of disk capacity. As has been the case with iDataplex deals to date, Big Blue has been a bit vague on the processor configurations inside the iDataPlex machine.

The university did say that it would be using the supercomputer to do research on cancer, materials science, atmospheric modeling, visualization, and bioinformatics. At 25 teraflops, this will be the most powerful academic supercomputer in the state of Kentucky. The Cardinal system was installed in late January and will be fully operational in late March.

Like all techies at other schools, there is a certain amount of pride that comes with the size of your cluster, and the information technology department was a lot more useful in giving the feeds and speeds of the Cardinal system than the press relations people at IBM. As it turns out, the Cardinal cluster is comprised of 312 iDataplex server nodes, each with two processor sockets and each equipped with a quad-core Intel Xeon processor, for a total of 2,496 cores.

Each server node has either 16 GB or 32 GB of main memory. Why they were not all the same in unclear. The university also has a 16-core Power6-based Power 570 SMP system using 4.7 GHz cores that is used as a statistical server. The iDataplex machines are hooked to each other as well as to visualization server and log-in nodes by a 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet network, and some of the iDataPlex nodes are part of a secondary network that is lashed together using 4x InfiniBand networking.

IBM launched the System x iDataPlex machines in April 2008, and they are custom built for buyers and only offered on a special bid basis. They really are intended for what IBM and others call hyperscale deployments, but 312 server nodes is not exactly hyperscale in 2009, so go figure how the University of Louisville got moved to the front of the line.

The iDataPlex servers slide into a rack that has two columns of 15-inch servers, as opposed to the 19-inch rack equipment that is standard in data centers. The change in form factor and rack style is accounting for a lot of density improvement IBM is getting with the iDataplex setup - about twice what you can do with a standard rack server setup. The iDataPlex racks sport Cool Blue water jackets, which IBM puts on the back of racks and hooks right into water-cooled CRAC units inside the data center to more directly remove heat from the servers.

So far, Merrill Lynch - well, what was formerly known as Merrill Lynch and is now known as a tiny piece of Bank of America - has bought an unspecified number of iDataplex machines, and Microsoft also has bought some. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has bought a bunch too. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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?