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Xtreme-X Supercomputer Exploits Newest Multi-Core Chips

A supercomputer company has begun showing off its latest hardware for high performance computing. Appro is about to launch the Appro Xtreme-X, a supercomputer that can use one of two new competitive generations of microprocessors: either AMD's Opteron 6200, a 16-core x86 chip otherwise known as "Interlagos," which began shipping to manufacturers in September, or Intel's Xeon E5 eight-core chip, expected to surface in products in early 2012.

Appro reported it will demonstrate its new system at SC11, the annual supercomputing conference taking place in mid-November in Seattle.

The Xtreme-X can be configured by the company to address four types of customer workloads:

  • Capacity computing, where the workload is diverse and intense, supporting many simultaneous users and applications;
  • Hybrid computing, for situations where highly parallel applications are running that can exploit the boosted processing power of graphic processing units or other node-based acceleration options;
  • Data-intensive computing, to support "big data" applications that process petabytes of storage and millions of input/output operations per second. The system architecture features extreme bandwidths between memory, large memory nodes, the use of symmetric multiprocessing technologies, and multiple levels and types of storage; and
  • Capability computing for high availability applications. This design features high bandwidth between disk and memory with sustained floating point performance and failover capabilities for production environments.

Appro said the new system's design will provide "significant savings" in power consumption through high-efficient fans and liquid cooling.

Customers will receive hardware loaded with an Appro software stack that includes a version of the open source grid engine batch scheduler and the Cluster Engine management suite for job scheduling, failover, load balancing, and revision control capabilities.

"The Appro Next Generation Xtreme-X Supercomputer is designed to address critical HPC workloads in the HPC market which is growing by over seven percent a year," said Earl Joseph, IDC's high performance systems program vice president. "Appro aims its product design to address critical customer requirements including system optimization; cutting-edge technologies; enhanced system management; cooling technologies, and the all-important price/performance to support medium to large-scale cluster environments."

The Xtreme-X will be available in early fourth quarter. Pricing will vary depending on system configuration.

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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