Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cray's First Windows-Based Supercomputer Puts a 64-Core Datacenter On Your Desk [Cray Cx1]


Why should UNIX nerds (God love 'em) have all the fun? Cray and Microsoft announced today a partnership to produce the CX1, a $60,000 (on the top end) supercomputer that runs the forthcoming Windows HPC Server 2008—MS's answer to the high-performance *nix server systems run by most heavy servers. So now you can crunch your lab's genome splicing data while you play Crysis on another blade, with plenty of processing power to spare.

You almost missed it there right next to the desk, didn't you? When it's not badly Photoshopped in a Cray brochure, the CX1 packs 16 Intel Xeon procs, either dual- or quad-core (you choose), with 8 supercomputing nodes that can accommodate 64GB of memory per node. Internal storage tops out at 4TB. You can custom-configure and purchase one today, on ranges from $25,000 to $6000.

Microsoft and Cray Team Up to Drive High Productivity Computing Into the Mainstream
Cray CX1 Supercomputer With Windows HPC Server 2008 and Intel Xeon Processors Starts at $25,000 and Provides "Ease-of-Everything" for New Users of HPC
SEATTLE, WA and REDMOND, WA, Sep 16, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) — Supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) today introduced the new Cray CX1 supercomputer pre-installed with Windows HPC Server 2008. With U.S. list prices starting at $25,000 to over $60,000, "ease-of-everything" features and the ability to fit into standard office environments and workflows, the new product reflects Microsoft and Cray's shared goal to drive high productivity computing farther into the mainstream in a broad array of markets including financial services, aerospace, auto! motive, petroleum, life sciences, government, academic and digital media.

Studies released by the Council on Competitiveness and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found that nearly all large firms using HPC consider it indispensable for their ability to compete and survive, but smaller companies, as well as workgroups and departments in larger firms, have been hampered by the cost of HPC systems and a lack of access to in-house experts to help them use these systems.

The Cray CX1 supercomputer was designed from the ground up to address these barriers. It is the most affordable supercomputer ever offered by Cray and is designed to be easy to purchase, deploy, operate and upgrade. Purpose-built for offices, laboratories and university departments, the Cray CX1 is the world's highest-performing computer that uses standard office power.

The Cray CX1 product incorporates up to 8 nodes and 16 Intel Xeon processors, either dual or quad core; delivers up to 64 gigabytes of memory per node; and provides up to 4 terabytes of internal storage. Systems can be configured with a mix of compute, storage and visualization blades to meet customers' individual requirements. The quiet, deskside supercomputer features Windows HPC Server 2008 and interoperates with Linux. A three-year warranty with next-day, on-site Cray-certified support is standard.

"Windows HPC Server 2008, in combination with the Cray CX1 supercomputer, will provide outstanding sustained performance on applications," said Vince Mendillo, director, HPC at Microsoft Corp. "This combined solution will enable companies in various sectors to unify their Windows desktop and server workflows. Many Microsoft financial services customers, for example, want to unify back-office modeling and simulation with the work of front-office trading desks."

"IDC research shows that HPC has been one of the highest-growth IT markets during the past five years and the segment for HPC systems priced below $100,000 is headed for cont! inued gr owth," said Earl Joseph, IDC's HPC program vice president. "The Cray HPC brand name and experience, combined with Microsoft's strategy of extending the familiar Windows environment upward to the server level, gives the Cray CX1 solution strong potential for exploiting the anticipated growth of this market segment."

"Cray sees Microsoft Windows becoming an increasingly important force in the HPC market," said Ian Miller, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Cray. "With the Cray CX1 high productivity system and Windows HPC Server 2008, we're bringing the power of Cray supercomputing to a much wider range of new users with an affordable and adaptable system that provides incredible value and is easy to install, program and use with a broad array of applications from independent software vendors (ISVs)."

The Cray CX1 high productivity system is also the first Cray product to incorporate Intel processors and the first milestone of the unique collaboration Cray and Intel announced in April to develop a range of HPC systems and technologies over the next several years to address various segments of the HPC industry.

"Taking advantage of the energy-efficient performance of the Intel Xeon processor 5400 series, Cray's CX1 system will bring many HPC capabilities to the office that were previously confined to the datacenter, enabling more users to employ supercomputing to help them solve some of their most difficult computational problems," said Richard Dracott, Intel's General Manager of High Performance Computing, "In addition, we continue to collaborate with Cray on developing the supercomputing technologies of the future, aimed at all segments of the HPC market."

Scientists at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA plan to use a Cray CX1 with Microsoft HPC Server 2008 for mathematical modeling and visualization. This will support their development of advanced computational algorithms and scientific approaches for the comprehensive and quantitative mapping of brain structu! re and f unction.

"We are very excited about utilizing the Cray CX1 to support our research activities," said Rico Magsipoc, Chief Technology Officer for the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. "The work that we do in brain research is computationally intensive but will ultimately have a huge impact on our understanding of the relationship between brain structure and function, in both health and disease. Having the power of a Cray supercomputer that is simple and compact is very attractive and necessary, considering the physical constraints we face in our data centers today."