High-Performance Computing

Nor-Tech Takes Supercomputers Out of the Data Center

Nor-Tech, a manufacturer of high performance computing (HPC) clusters and other computing equipment, has developed a line of lower-cost supercomputers designed for use in an office, classroom or laboratory, rather than a data center.

The supercomputers are available in several versions, including ultra-quiet clusters, open source software clusters and ruggedized portable clusters. Other clusters with combinations of these features are also available.

"We realized for a long time that there was a void in the market for organizations looking for supercomputing power in a cluster that could reside outside a datacenter with a cost well below a traditional supercomputer," said David Bollig, president and CEO of Nor-Tech, in a news release. "We have designed what we think is a Goldilocks solution: the right amount of power, the right price, and the right amount of expandability for today's offices."

The ultra-quiet clusters are housed in a low-noise cluster cabinet that "reduces the sound to a level that is halfway between normal conversation and a whisper," according to the company. A single-blade server that produces 78 A-weighted decibels (dBA), the equivalent noise level of a vacuum cleaner, is reduced by 28.5 dBA when placed in the low-noise cluster cabinet. MIRA Test Laboratories independently verified the company's sound reduction claims in accordance with ISO 3744.

The open source software clusters include integration with OpenFOAM and ParaView. OpenFOAM is an open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) application that includes tools for studying chemical reactions, turbulence and heat transfer. ParaView is an open source data analysis and visualization application. According to the company, the open source software clusters have no recurring license fees and are quiet, run on standard power and have wheels for portability.

The ruggedized portable clusters have shock absorbers lining the chassis to protect it from sudden impact or sustained vibration, and they meet the "applicable sections of military standards such as MIL-STD-108, MIL-STD-648, and MIL-STD-810," according to the company. The unit rolls on lockable casters that can be removed or stored inside the cabinet, and it has removable end caps to seal the unit during transport. According to the company, it is quiet, has low heat generation and is energy efficient, requiring only two 120 VAC 20-amp circuits to power up to 128 cores.

Further information about these clusters can be found on Nor-Tech's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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