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Gee, SGI’s New Workgroup Cluster Can Do Wheelies

CloudRack X2 is the first time so-called Rackable-invented this-is-not-blade CloudRack trays are available in HPC configurations

The recently reconstituted SGI Thursday started touting its dense new second-generation "scalable workgroup cluster," the x86-based CloudRack X2, targeted at HPC, graphics and Internet applications.

Because of its mere five-square-foot form factor and reported 99% power distribution efficiency, the company says the widgetry should enable new deployment scenarios, including workgroups, labs and traditional HPC environments either as a standalone unit mounted on casters for in-lab use - and doubtless the opportunity for a different kind of benchmark race - or grounded in industry-standard 19-inch racks, which SGI figures is good for heterogeneous computing environments

CloudRack X2 is the first time so-called Rackable-invented this-is-not-blade CloudRack trays - given the right software - are available in HPC-dedicated configurations.

The system supports high-performance processors and high-speed interconnects, including 40 Gb/sec InfiniBand.

CloudRack X2 can scale at 24 or 216 core increments, with support for low- to high-power processors, and incorporate high-end graphics or GP-GPU processing.

The company figures data centers can immediately evaluate CloudRack technology benefits and use the more compact CloudRack X2 as an easy "on-ramp" to larger installations.

The 14U CloudRack X2 can hold nine vertically mounted CloudRack server trays. The product offers built-to-order optimization with hot-swap components, and the latest Intel and AMD processors.

IDC says the widgetry expands SGI's addressable market.

SGI describes CloudRack X2 as being good for large scale-out deployments in existing rack environments. Customers with traditional rack-mount architectures can leverage the CloudRack line within smaller physical footprints to maximize data center real estate.

It says one-way MicroSlice architecture-based single-socket servers reach extreme price/performance ratios, good for Internet applications and workloads.

Configurations for Internet and some HPC applications are available now, with graphics, GP-GPU and additional HPC trays due later this quarter.

CloudRack X2 enclosures are compatible a number of built-to-order trays, including two dual-socket Xeon 5500-based servers per tray; six single-socket Atom-based MicroSlice servers per tray; two dual-socket quad- or six-core Opteron 2300 or 2400-based servers per tray; three single-socket Phenom X4 quad-core-based MicroSlice servers per tray; and six single-socket Athlon X2 dual-core-based MicroSlice servers per tray.

Most CloudRack trays support either six or eight 2.5- or 3.5-inch SATA or SAS hard drives with Solid State Disks (SSD) available for applications that need particularly high performance and reliability.

Operating system support includes Windows Server 2008 and Windows HPC Server 2008, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and 11, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5 and SGI ProPack for Linux.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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