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October 14, 2005

Ferrari Revs HPC Horsepower

Nicole Hemsoth

Ferrari is opening a new data center dedicated to aerodynamic research and development. This facility, in Maranello, Italy, features technology delivered by the partnership of Fluent Inc., American Power Conversion and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The installation focuses on providing the high level of performance, stability and reliability required to perform external aerodynamic simulations for Formula One racing cars.

During the grand opening, Fluent's and APC's customers will have the opportunity to hear from the solution suppliers about the key needs and requirements of the engineering team at Scuderia Ferrari while discussing the issues and challenges faced in designing and implementing a data center of this considerable complexity and size.

Ferrari's data center is an integrated supercomputer based on AMD64 Opteron processors with Direct Connect Architecture. It is used for CFD simulations using software and services from Fluent. The physical infrastructure utilizes APC's InfraStruXure with integrated cooling and offers power, cooling, management and services in a rack-optimized design, which is ideal for high-density computing installations. The APC solution leads to lower power and cooling costs under a unified computing platform.

“We partnered with Scuderia Ferrari to help them deploy an ideal solution for their sophisticated research and development data center, which houses one of the largest privately owned supercomputers in the world,” said Dwight Sperry, APC's group general manager of Enterprise Systems and Business Networks. “While the technology exists to create data center designs with multiple powerful processors in a clustered environment, IT professionals are dealing with today's challenge to power and cool them — while ensuring high availability as well as the ability to expand for tomorrow's technology. InfraStruXure's immediately deployable benefits were clear to Ferrari. And since Ferrari also is considering increasing the processing power in the future, InfraStruXure's agility was instrumental as well.”

Commenting on the unveiling of the Ferrari HPC, Gerard De Neuville, Fluent corporate vice president, said, “Fluent has a long history of success in F1. Most of the Formula 1 teams use Fluent's CFD software and the existing relationship between Ferrari's Aerodynamics Department and Fluent stretches back to 1996 when we supplied them with software and services for CFD analysis of their racing cars. Their cutting-edge HPC environment represents one of the biggest industrial computing platforms in the world, and will help to drive the optimization of large-scale applications of Fluent. Fluent's customers' demand for computational power continues to expand as HPC, with its high capabilities, allows F1 teams to perform extremely large CFD simulations, or to support rapid design analyses. No longer the exclusive domain of large centralized automotive and aerospace enterprises, HPC is now equally important to engineers in smaller design groups and in process industries such as power generation, oil & gas, chemicals, and materials processing, and Fluent is strongly committed in these markets as well.”

The HPC installation was a challenge in terms of ventilation and cooling in that the center is located within the historic site of Enzo Ferrari's early design and development facilities. This retrofit posed HVAC challenges not seen in more modern buildings. According to Antonio Calabrese, head of information systems at Ferrari, “Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro deploys only best-in-class technologies and products that are proven to meet our challenges. Both APC and Fluent have demonstrated the right level of expertise and flexibility needed to fulfil our demands.”