HP, Dell Deliver 64-bit Clustering Options

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Nov 8, 2004


HP and Dell are using this week's annual Supercomputing conference in Pittsburgh, Penn. as a soapbox from which to deliver clustering and supercomputing to the mainstream.

HP and Dell announced new servers with 64-bit computing capabilities at this week's Supercomputing show.

HP reaffirmed its commitment to Itanium with a clustering solution aimed at the low end, while Dell announced a 64-bit scalable server designed for supercomputing clusters and distributed Web farms.

HP shined the spotlight on its Integrity portfolio with the introduction of two new and one enhanced system that use the 64-bit chip. It also announced several new clustering solutions.

The Integrity rx1620 and the Integrity rx2620 function as single or dual-processor servers. They replace the rx1600 and rx2600, respectively. The third server, the Integrity rx4640, has been enhanced and scales from a single-processor system to a four-processor system. The servers have a larger cache, more memory, and are more energy efficient than their predecessors, Ed Turkel, Manager, Product & Technology Marketing for the High Performance Computing Division, told ServerWatch.

HP has added the Integrated Lights Out (iLO) management capabilities found in its ProLiant line to these 1- to 4-processor entry-level HP Integrity servers. iLO management enables the servers to be administered remotely under a common user interface. iLO features include simplified setup, group configuration, remote power on/off, Secure Socket Layer security, and detailed server status.

In addition to supporting HP-UX, Linux, and Windows, the three Integrity servers will support OpenVMS, a move Turkel said will "extend the operating system's life by 20 years." Previously, only HP's AlphaServers supported OpenVMS. As Alpha Servers near end of life, HP is migrating customers to servers in the Integrity line. Allowing them to keep their operating systems makes for an easier migration.

The rx1620 is a 1U, 1- to 2-processor Itanium 2-based system. The server can have either a 1.6 GHz processor, 3MB of L3 cache, a 533 MHz frontside bus, and 8.5 GB per second peak data bandwidth, or a 1.3 GHz processor, 3MB of L3 cache, a 400 MHz frontside bus, and 6.4 GB per second peak data bandwidth. The server also has 16 GB of DDR memory and two PCI-X slots, each with a dedicated PCI-X bus. It is scheduled to ship in December 2004 with an entry price of less than $4,000.

The rx2620 is a 2U, 1- to 2-processor Itanium 2-based system. The server offers a choice of a 1.3 GHz or 1.6 GHz processor and 3 MB or 6 MB of L3 cache, as well as a 400 MHz frontside bus and 6.4 GB per second peak data bandwidth. The server also features up to 24 GB of DDR memory, and four PCI-X slots, each with a dedicated PCI-X bus. The HP Integrity rx2620 is expected to ship in December 2004 with a starting price of less than $5,000.

The rx4640 is a 4U 1- to 4-processor Itanium 2-based system. It features a 1.5 GHz or 1.6 GHz processor; 4 MB, 6 MB, or 9 MB of L3 cache; a 400 MHz frontside bus; and 6.4 GB per second peak data bandwidth. The enhanced rx4640 is expected to ship in December 2004 with an entry price of under $15,000.

HP plans to begin incorporating new, higher-performing Itanium 2 processors into midrange HP Integrity and HP Integrity Superdome servers in early 2005.

The rx1620 and rx2620 are also available as part of HP's 16-node HP Cluster Platform. The bundle of hardware, software, and services combines the rx1620 and the Integrity rx2620 with an enhanced version of HP StorageWorks Scalable File Share. It is part of a new family of preconfigured and pretested industry-standards based cluster solutions. The offering is priced from $62,000.

Dell Adds 64-bit Option

Dell joined the supercomputing party when it unveiled the PowerEdge SC1425 server Monday. The EM64T-processor-based 1U server is designed for supercomputing clusters and distributed Web farms looking to get the most high-performance computing bang for their buck.

According to Dell, the SC1425 does this by focusing only on features pertinent to high performance computing. As a result, it boasts dual Intel Xeon EM64T processors, an 800 MHz front side bus, up to 12 GB of DDR-2 memory, and embedded dual GB Ethernet NICs for high-performance I/O capabilities.

Dell will sell the new server in high-performance computing cluster bundles with 8-, 16-, 32-, 64-, 128- and 256-node configurations running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. Individual PowerEdge SC1425 servers are priced starting at $1,099 and are available with Windows Server 2003 Standard or Web Edition and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0, 32-bit or 64-bit editions.

Eight-node cluster configurations with the PowerEdge SC1425 start at $33,500. The server will be available for purchase beginning Nov. 15.

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