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New HP Clusters Based on Industry Standards Simplify High-performance Computing

University of Kentucky employs HP cluster platform to power supercomputing
PITTSBURGH, Supercomputing 2004, Nov. 8, 2004
 
 
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HP today announced a comprehensive package of hardware, software and services that significantly boosts the performance and functionality of clusters - while reducing their complexity - for high-performance computing (HPC) customers.

The HP Unified Cluster Portfolio, which includes two new entry-level HP Integrity servers and an enhanced version of HP StorageWorks Scalable File Share, is a new family of pre-configured, pre-tested cluster solutions based on industry standards. The offering helps HPC customers manage and visualize the large volumes of data created by computational analysis.

Already a leader in HPC with 31.5 percent market share,(1) HP plans to extend that lead with its Unified Cluster Portfolio for HPC clusters, a segment growing 50 percent annually.(2)

"Until recently, HPC customers were constrained to a narrow range of choice and functionality," said Winston Prather, vice president and general manager, High-Performance Computing, HP. "If they wanted a customized solution they would be forced to go with proprietary systems. Today, HP is staking out a larger claim in the HPC market as the only vendor to deliver cluster solutions coupled with packaged applications that offer simplicity, flexibility and increased performance at lower cost."

The Unified Cluster Portfolio is the first solution in the industry to provide a common implementation across multiple operating systems (HP-UX, Microsoft Windows® and Linux) and servers based on industry-standard processors (Intel® Xeon™, Itanium® and AMD Opteron™) and through participation with partners and the open source community.

Supercomputing at the University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky's (UK) Center for Computational Sciences is laying the groundwork to become a national center for computational chemistry. The performance and stability of the clusters handling the associated processing workload is extremely critical.

The UK Center recently purchased a 128-node HP Cluster Platform 3000, with XC System Software and a 6-terabyte HP StorageWorks Scalable File Share cluster. Additionally, they rely on a supercomputer made up of four HP Integrity Superdome servers with a total of 224 processors running HP-UX 11i v2 with HP Virtual Server Environment.

"Our challenge was to boost our capacity to meet increasing levels of research and to achieve the highest performance available for our chemistry applications," said John Connolly, director of the Center for Computational Sciences, University of Kentucky. "HP delivered a cluster platform that combined the flexibility of a custom-built solution with the simplicity, reliability and value of a pre-configured, factory-built product. The result is a supercomputer that is attracting the top students and researchers from across the country to our campus."

Unified Cluster Portfolio components

The HP Unified Cluster Portfolio features innovations in computation, visualization and data management.

  • The foundation of the portfolio consists of three new standards-based, factory pre-assembled and tested HP cluster platforms that can extend to as many as 512 systems (more than 1,000 processors) and a comprehensive software range of commercial and open source reference applications and tools.

  • Engineered and supported by HP, the XC System Software V2 for Linux is available as a cluster management option for the HP cluster platform. XC software is scalable, primarily open source, and can be integrated with HP StorageWorks Scalable File Share. XC software provides single-system management for job and resource scheduling and simplified software installation, resulting in higher levels of productivity and scalability.

  • Delivering large, fast and simplified storage, the release of HP StorageWorks Scalable File Share (HP SFS) is a Linux cluster file server based on Lustre™ technology, which incorporates HPC-oriented HP StorageWorks SFS20 disk arrays for optimized price/performance.

  • The release of HP MPI (Message Passing Interface) is an industry-first transparent universal interface (for both UNIX® and Linux) that enables technical ISVs to write applications that will run over a variety of high-speed interconnects.

  • Expected to be available in early 2005, HP Scalable Visualization technology is an open, affordable high-end visualization solution based on HP-developed Sepia technology and industry-standard components which is integrated with XC System Software and support for HP StorageWorks SFS.

The two new HP Integrity servers in the Unified Cluster Portfolio are the dual-processor rx1620 and rx2620 systems, with 1.6-gigahertz Intel Itanium 2 processors. HP also announced the quad-processor rx4640 with the newly enhanced Itanium 2 processor with larger cache. All three server models are targeted at both the technical HPC and commercial computing marketplaces.

Additionally, HP is adding Integrated Lights Out (iLO) management to its one- to four-processor HP Integrity servers, which simplifies remote server management and helps decrease administration costs. HP plans to integrate the new, higher performing Itanium 2 processors into midrange HP Integrity and HP Integrity Superdome servers early next year.

The Unified Cluster Portfolio offers customers choice in implementing clustering solutions with HP Cluster Platform 3000 on HP ProLiant DL360 and DL380 servers with Xeon processors with Extended Memory 64-bit Technology (EM64T), HP Cluster Platform 4000 on HP ProLiant DL145 and DL585 servers with AMD Opteron processors, and the HP Cluster Platform 6000 on HP Integrity rx1620 and rx2620 servers with Itanium processors.

Broad vendor support

The HP Unified Cluster Portfolio is supported by a broad range of leading independent software vendors that offer applications to customers in industries such as aerospace, automotive, life and material sciences, and oil and gas.

Accelrys, Inc. helps customers in the life and material sciences industry accelerate the design, discovery and development of pharmaceuticals and chemicals by providing products and services in informatics and computation.

"HP's cluster platforms provide a solid reference configuration for our Materials Studio applications for quantum mechanical simulation by offering flexible solutions that meet a diverse set of customer needs," said Keith Glassford, Ph.D., director, Materials Science, Accelrys. "The industry-standard HP Unified Cluster Portfolio, with HP MPI, helps us develop applications that mitigate risk as they will run across various high-speed interconnects, making them much more attractive to our customers."

Fluent Inc. is the world's largest provider of commercial computational fluid dynamics software and services. Its clients are market leaders in industries such as automotive, aerospace, chemical and materials processing, power generation, biomedical and electronics.

"HP's new cluster platforms are perfectly on the mark for the CAE community," said Paul Bemis, vice president, Product Marketing, Fluent Inc. "Customers using our computational fluid dynamics software are eager to take advantage of highly scalable clusters based on industry-standard technology. We are delighted to see HP focused on this opportunity and believe that HP's range of offerings within the Unified Cluster Portfolio will be well received by our customers."

More information on the HP Unified Cluster Portfolio is available at http://www.hp.com/go/clusterportfolio.

A news advisory on the new HP Integrity servers is available at http://www.hp.com/products1/servers/integrity/entry_level/fact_sheet.html.

Pricing and availability

The estimated U.S. street price of a 16-node HP Cluster Platform is $62,000.(3) All HP cluster platforms are available immediately. The HP Cluster Platform 6000, with the new Integrity servers, is expected to be available in January 2005.

About HP

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended July 31, 2004, HP revenue totaled $78.4 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.


(1) IDC Worldwide Technical Server Qview, September 1, 2004

(2) IDC High-Performance Technical Computing Cluster Multiclient Study, July 2004

(3) Actual price may vary.

Intel, Xeon, and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. AMD Opteron is a trademark of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Linux is a U.S. registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft and Windows are U.S. registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.


This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they ever materialize or prove incorrect, could cause the results of HP and its consolidated subsidiaries to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including the expected development, performance or rankings of products or services; statements of expectation or belief; and any statement of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include the development, performance and market acceptance of products and services and other risks that are described from time to time in HP's Securities and Exchange Commission reports, including but not limited to HP's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended July 31, 2004 and other reports filed after HP's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2003. HP assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

About HP

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.