Linux Networx to unveil Evolocity II

Linux Networx Inc. Wednesday announced plans to unveil Evolocity II (E2) cluster supercomputer next week at a supercomputing conference in Baltimore. The company says the new design improves the density of the cluster and allows the servers to run cooler.

The E2 cluster's design allows up to 50 nodes, or servers, to be placed in a standard 42U rack, a density improvement over the standard-size 1U (approximately 1.7 inch) nodes, Linux Networx spokesman Brad Rutledge said.

Linux Networx engineers broke with traditional horizontal design when the Evolocity cluster came out in 2000 by placing the nodes into the rack vertically. The vertical design naturally allows more airflow and improved heat dissipation within each node, the Sandy, Utah, company says. The E2 design remains vertical, but doubles the density of the previous design, allowing five rows of 10 nodes in a standard 42U rack, Rutledge said.

Linux Networx, using it's own measuring method for vertically positioned servers, rated the E2 cluster at 0.8U, meaning it achieves a 20 percent density advantage over 1U horizontally stacked servers, Rutledge said. The cluster is also more reliable because it runs cooler, uses high-speed interconnects and can hold up to 100 Intel Corp. Xeon 2.4Ghz processors, he added.

The number of processors that can be fit into a cabinet is important, but taken by itself is not a compelling reason to buy, said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.

"The real battleground for these types of installations is going to be fought more in the integration and the management and provisioning software area than strictly on physical parameters," Haff said.

E2 cluster supercomputers have been delivered to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and to Argonne National Laboratory, Rutledge said. The LLNL system is the fastest Linux cluster supercomputer, according to Linux Networx, which is building a 10-teraflop (trillion floating point operations per second) E2 cluster for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Linux Networx announcement comes two days after competitor Silicon Graphics Inc. announced that it has a new addition to its Origin line of supercomputers that allows more processors to be inserted into its current footprint.

Linux Networx also announced Wednesday the availability of an Evolocity cluster supercomputer designed specifically for bioinformatic and genomic research. The cluster is configured to run popular life science applications, including BLAST, HMMER and ClustalW.

The company fine tuned the Evolocity Life Sciences Cluster after delivering an Evolocity cluster supercomputer to Tularik Inc., a California biopharmaceutical company whose work involves comparing genes from mice and humans in the race to find effective drugs to fight cancer and other diseases.

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Gretel Johnston

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