Feeds

Nuke lab tests flashy HPC server cluster

Appro and Fusion-io plug into Hyperion

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

It's Flashturbation of a different kind. US nuke lab Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has tapped longtime HPC cluster partner Appro International to custom-build a 100 TB flash-based storage system for its Hyperion x64 testbed cluster.

Project Hyperion was all the talk at the SC08 supercomputing show a year and a half ago, with Intel and Dell getting the big bits of the contract to build the testbed machine and Super Micro, QLogic, Cisco Systems, Mellanox, DataDirect Networks, LSI, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) all getting some pieces of the action.

The Hyperion super was not so much a machine as an ongoing procurement on the part of the three big nuke labs - LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories - to have the latest technologies available to put through the paces before deciding on including them in production machines. The initial machine had 1,152 server nodes, built by Dell and using Intel's quad-core Xeon processors, delivering 90 teraflops of number-crunching power, 11 TB of aggregate main memory, and 36 GB/sec of bandwidth out to storage subsystems.

The US Department of Energy paid $5m to build Hyperion, and the other contractors paid $5.5m (most likely in free equipment and services) to pay for the other half of the cluster. LLNL estimated the fair market value of the system at between $20m and $25m when it was completed in May 2009.

Now the Hyperion machine is getting a serious data I/O upgrade. LLNL has asked Appro to take an x64 server and create a flash disk appliance for the Hyperion machine using Fusio-io's ioMemory modules. Appro and Fusion-io have cooked up a flash appliance that crams two 640 GB ioDrive Duo (multi level cell, or MLC) flash modules into a single 1U x64-based server.

Two racks of these ioSANs, as Appro and Fusion-io are calling them, yield over 100 TB of storage capacity with an aggregate of 40 million I/O operations per second of disk bandwidth. The two vendors reckon it would take 43 racks of servers and a hell of a lot more electricity to get the same I/O from disk-based storage.

LLNL is no stranger to Appro, which has five of the company's Opteron-based clusters (with InfiniBand interconnect) at the nuke lab today that made the June 2010 Top 500 supercomputer rankings. However, don't get the wrong idea: LLNL is by no means an Appro only shop, and was the first place to get a BlueGene super from IBM. In fact, in 2012, LLNL is taking delivery of a massive 20 petaflops BlueGene box from IBM, nicknamed "Sequoia," and has a puppy BlueGene/P machine in the works named "Dawn" that is rated at 501 teraflops. The nuke labs never met a supercomputer they didn't like or a technology they could not afford.

This is not Appro's first foray into the use of flash memory in supercomputers, either. Last November, the San Diego Supercomputer Center got a $20m grant from the National Science Foundation to build its second flash-based parallel super. That machine, called "Gordon" of course, will be based on Intel's "Sandy Bridge" Xeons and will implement a shared memory systems based on ScaleMP's vSMP clustering technology. The server nodes in Gordon will have an aggregate of 245 teraflops of computing power (based on Appro's Xtreme-X servers, 64 TB of main memory implemented as a single memory space, 256 TB of flash memory, and 4 PB of disk drive capacity. The idea behind the Gordon machine is not to get as much flops in a box as possible, but to get CPU capacity and I/O capacity back into synch, thereby using CPU cycles more efficiently.

This is precisely the same aim the LLNL has by adding flash storage to the Project Hyperion testbed super. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
IBM rides nightmarish hardware landscape on OpenPOWER Consortium raft
Google mulls 'third-generation of warehouse-scale computing' on Big Blue's open chips
It's GOOD to get RAIN on your upgrade parade: Crucial M550 1TB SSD
Performance tweaks and power savings – what's not to like?
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.