The Week in Review
Here is a collection of highlights from this week’s news stream as reported by HPCwire.
Hawking Gets SGI Altix Supercomputer
The UK Computational Cosmology Consortium (COSMOS), which is based at the University of Cambridge, is now the proud new owner of an SGI Altix UV 1000 supercomputer. According to the release, the Altix UV system provides the kind of high performance, scalable, big-memory supercomputing needed to support the wide range of workloads undertaken by COSMOS researchers — researchers like the incomparable Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking, principal investigator at COSMOS, shared his thoughts on the announcement:
“Recent progress towards a complete understanding of the universe has been impressive, but many puzzles remain. Cosmology is now a precise science, and we need supercomputers to calculate what our theories of the early universe predict and test them against observations of the present universe.”
The Altix UV takes advantage of the latest Intel Xeon processors and can scale from 32 to 2,048 cores. The system remains highly-efficient at scale and supports up to 16 terabytes of global shared memory in a single system image.
SGI is working with COSMOS to get the system up and running as quickly as possible.
Verari Takes New Shape
Since the doors shut at Verari in December, there has been a lot of speculation on what the future holds for the company and if, indeed, there would be a future. After a shakey turnaround in January when Dave Driggers bought the company he helped start, there was some more good news in June, when Verari announced an influx of cash and new leadership. Well, this week, the saga closed a chapter as Verari announced a new name, and strategy.
Henceforth, Verari will be known as Cirrascale with a focus on blade-based cloud computing and cloud storage platforms. Cirrascale? Cloud computing? Verari is not the first company to undergo a cloud-friendly rebranding.
Marc Brown, president and chief operating officer of Cirrascale, explained:
“Being able to base our cloud storage and compute products on Verari’s world class BladeRack 2 Series technology and FOREST containerized datacenter infrastructure puts us at the front of the pack to serve the demanding cloud customer. These products, based on Verari’s patented Vertical Cooling Technology, generated over $500 million in installed systems in the high performance computing and enterprise markets; these customer segments are the foundation of the burgeoning cloud market of today. This technology is a winning formula for the cloud customer.”
Chairman and CEO Dave Driggers continued:
“Technology innovation is only half the story at Cirrascale; we must also innovate with our business model. Cloud and Web 2.0 businesses are placing new demands on their suppliers. Unlike the enterprise datacenter customer served by traditional computer companies with established product lines and large IT consulting businesses, the agile, self-sufficient cloud and Web 2.0 customers want to collaborate to define their platforms and create a purpose-built datacenter infrastructure that addresses their unique requirements.”
The release includes some further information on Cirrascale’s customer focus:
Cirrascale will focus on customers buying at the datacenter and rack infrastructure level, across a range of storage and computing models including low-power micro-servers, high density storage, scale-out multicore, HPC cluster and GP/GPU computing. Customers are served by the same physical rack infrastructure that accommodates the customer-defined power, density and cooling requirements.
Cirrascale was organized under the name “Verari Technologies” in January 2010, when it acquired the intellectual property and other assets of Verari Systems. Cirrascale made sure to state that it welcomes previous Verari customers.