Dell Inc. will build a high-performance computing cluster for the University of Texas at Austin that is just the latest in a recent string of Linux-powered clusters, Dell announced Friday.
The Round Rock, Texas, company plans to unveil the 300-node cluster during an event at the Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC) featuring Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell at the university he briefly attended before dropping out to found his company.
Dell built the cluster in conjunction with Cray Inc., said Reza Rooholamini, director of enterprise solutions for Dell. It features 300 dual-processor Dell PowerEdge 1750 and PowerEdge 2650 servers that use 3.06GHz Xeon DP processors from Intel Corp., he said.
The cluster uses interconnect technology from Myricom Inc., and storage and switch technology from Dell's own product line, Rooholamini said. Red Hat Linux is the operating system that will run the cluster, he said.
Several universities and government research laboratories around the world have chosen Linux to run their recently deployed clusters, including Japan's National Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The "Lonestar" cluster at the University of Texas is expected to deliver theoretical peak performance of 3.45 TFLOPs (trillion floating point operations per second) after it is benchmarked by the Top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers. Rooholamini said. This would rank the cluster in the top 10 percent of clusters deployed worldwide in terms of performance, he said.
Dell's list price of a configuration similar to Lonestar is $1.9 million, with services and installation charges expected to bring the total cost to around $3 million, a Dell spokeswoman said.
The university received educational discounts off the $3 million fee quoted by Dell, but is not disclosing the actual price it paid for the cluster, said Tina Romanella, communications and development manager for the TACC.
TACC will use the cluster as part of the Teragrid Project (http://www.teragrid.org), a U.S. network of high-performance computing clusters, Romanella said. Some of the work that will be done on TACC's new cluster will benefit petroleum research and the Grace Project, an effort to map the gravity fields of the Earth, she said.
The university is currently testing the cluster, and expects to have it ready for full-scale production in November, Romanella said.