Linux, Supercomputing and the Midrange

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted Nov 17, 2005


The importance of Linux in the world of supercomputers is difficult to understate. Linux is the installed operating system on 72 percent of the supercomputers listed in the latest Top 500  tally of the world's fastest supercomputers. The Linux supercomputer business continues to grow.

Linux Networx, a manufacturer of (surprise surprise) Linux supercomputers is capitalizing on the trend with record sales growth and the release of two new Linux Supersystems. On the November Top 500 list Linux networks comes in at sixth place with a 3.2 percent share of the list, IBM holds top spot at 43.8 percent.

The new Linux Networx LS-1 is targeted at midrange users and is aimed at making supercomputing more manageable and affordable. The LS-1 is delivered to customers as an application optimized system for a number of different third party applications including interactive 3D virtualization, flow simulation crash analysis and computational fluid dynamics.

The LS/X is the new high end system that Linux Networx claims can provide, "sustained application performance for configurations up to 100 Teraflops." An integrated switch infrastructure improved airflow and serviceability thanks to a 60 percent reduction in cabling.

Though the supercomputing market is becoming increasingly competitive, Brad Rutledge vice president of marketing communications at Linux Networx notes that his company is doing a lot to differentiate itself.

"Firstly, we’re focused on Linux supercomputing – we’re The Linux Supercomputing Company – it is our only business. Many vendors dabble in supercomputing, calling it a vertical market," Rutledge told internetnews.com. "We think to adequately address the unique needs of supercomputing users, a special focus, understanding and even skill set is required. Users are frustrated with vendors that try to make standard enterprise technologies work in supercomputing environments."

That's where the LS Series comes in, according to Rutledge, addressing the needs of users who want legacy supercomputing performance, blended with the value of Linux clusters, and a system experience

Rutledge also cited Linux Networx sales performance noting that they just completed record revenue quarters back-to-back; and have experienced a 50 percent compounded growth for the past five years.

Standardization and a systems approach allows Linux Networx to offer a lower procurement price than traditional cluster pricing according to Rutlegde.

An entry-level LS-1 Supersystem (with 16 CPUs) is available for less than $40,000. A 64-processor system starts at less than $130,000. A fully configured LS/X system with 96 CPUs and (1 GB per CPU) starts at under $225,000.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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