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U Utah Adds HP-Based HPC Servers and Storage

The University of Utah has gone public with implementation of a new Linux cluster in its Center for High Performance Computing that was made available to the campus research community earlier this year. At about the same time the Center has expanded high performance storage in its compute resources as the result of a year-long evaluation of vendor offerings.

According to Brian Haymore, lead for computer cluster administration, the new cluster, named "Ember," features 270 HP ProLiant SL160 Z G6 servers along with Mellanox Technologies' Voltair QDR InfiniBand switches and host channel adapters.

In November 2010 the Center added four X9320 couplets to its existing storage infrastructure. A couplet is HP's term for a pair of servers in a failover cluster. The raw capacity of the network storage system is about 350 terabytes, Haymore said. He added, "This was a stand-alone purchase to add high performance storage to our compute resources." That equipment is running IBRIX Fusion, a file system that was acquired by HP in 2009 and added to HP's ProLiant server line to form the X9000 series of storage systems.

That combination was tested against other offerings from Panasas; IBM with its General Parallel File System (GPFS); and Lustre File System, an open source offering.

"Our research groups use the [Center's] resources to quickly collect and analyze information for a variety of research projects at a national level," said Assistant Director Guy Adams. "When benchmarking potential solutions, we realized that the HP IBRIX-based X9320 would not only improve the efficiency of our operations and research, it offered a 'pay as you grow' approach that allowed us to optimize our initial investments."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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