Feeds

Purdue puts HPC cluster in HP PODs

Boilermakers of a different kind

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Purdue University, the engineering school known by the nickname "The Boilermakers", has tapped Hewlett-Packard to build a 1,000-node HPC cluster for scientific research. Rather than put the cluster into a traditional data center, Purdue is stuffing the machinery into HP's POD containerized data center.

HP gave El Reg a peek of the Performance Optimized Datacenter back in July 2008, and started shipping it last June. The PODs are based on 20 foot and 40 foot metal shipping containers, and the 40-footer has enough room to house 3,250 1U rack servers or disk arrays with 12,000 3.5-inch disk drives – roughly the equivalent of 4,000 square feet of data center floor space. The power and cooling systems HP sells with the PODs can deliver up to 27 kilowatts per rack and keep the gear cool too.

Purdue is to buy an HP Cluster Platform 4000, a preconfigured cluster using 10 Gigabit Ethernet interconnect and based on the company's ProLiant DL165z G7 servers. The DL165z G7 machines are based on Advanced Micro Devices' "Magny-Cours" Opteron 6100 processors, which sport a dozen cores per socket. The servers have two sockets and offer up to 256 GB of main memory in their 1U chassis.

You can cram the 1,000 nodes that Purdue is using to build its cluster, which is nicknamed "Rossman" after Michael Rossman, Purdue's famous physicist and microbiology researcher, into 24 racks and have plenty of room left over for a wide-screen LCD TV and a couple of big ole couches to watch football on Saturday afternoon when the Boilermakers are on the road.

John Campbell, associate vice president of academic technologies at Purdue said the main reason why the university went for the POD approach is time and money. The school did not want to put up the funds to build a new data center or wait years to get it done. Campbell says HP can get the containerized data center up and running in a matter of months and at a fraction of the cost. Purdue did not elaborate on just how much money it was saving. Campbell said in an email to El Reg that the university has one 40 footer now, is pouring concrete for a second one, and has room for four others in the containerized data center is has set up.

In addition to the new POD-based cluster, Purdue has just installed another cluster, nicknamed "Coates" after Ben Coates, the former head of electrical engineering and founder of the compsci program at the university. That cluster was noteworthy in that it was the first cluster to rank on the Top 500 supercomputing list that was based on 10 Gigabit Ethernet interconnect.

The Coates cluster is based on a mix of quad-core Opteron processors in a mix 989 HP ProLiant server nodes running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, PBSPro for cluster management, and a Condor grid system that hails from an open source project at Big Ten rival, the University of Wisconsin. The Condor grid is linked to all the computing facilities at Purdue and, true to its name, scavenges cycles from over 20,000 processors. ®

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?