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Orion Multisystems Ships 96-Node Cluster Workstation
Posted by Ken Farmer, Tuesday April 26 2005 @ 08:19AM EDT

Orion Multisystems, Inc. today announced it is shipping the 96-node deskside Cluster Workstation, a personal supercomputer that fits under a desk and is the highest performance general-purpose computing platform that can be plugged into a standard power outlet. (1) The launch follows a successful introduction last year of Orion’s 12-node desktop Cluster Workstation, a system now in use by customers in multiple countries and market segments worldwide, including life sciences, geosciences, engineering, manufacturing, financial analytics, media and entertainment.

“Having a cluster available at your desk as an individual resource, rather than a shared one down the hall, fosters a more interactive experience,” said Jim Lux, senior member of the engineering staff, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Orion is making clusters a convenient, low maintenance product with the user experience of an integrated device, like a PC. The new 96-node deskside system provides an order of magnitude higher performance than the desktop, still without requiring extensive support staff and infrastructure.”

Designed for an office or laboratory, Orion Cluster Workstations are innovative productivity tools for individual engineers, scientists, financial and creative professionals. The 96-node Cluster Workstation, stackable up to four systems, significantly expands Orion’s capabilities from a company providing mobile supercomputing with its 12-node desktop, to true capacity computing, saving customers the usage time, costs and IT infrastructure associated with large, shared backroom clusters.

Orion's DS-96 deskside system is based on clustering, which is the best means of exploiting parallelism to generate very high performance. The system has the following innovative specifications:

* Boots 96 individual computers, or nodes, as one system using single on/off switch
* No special cooling requirements and a maximum power draw of just 1500 watts from a standard power outlet.
* System based on eight Orion Processor Array boards, with each board comprised of 12 individual nodes on a private network
* Each node a fully functional computer with its own x86 processor, chipset, memory, optional disk drive and networking capability
* Runs the Linux operating system and has exceptional input/output functionality, including dual 10-GigE fiber card and a 12-port GigE switch for ultra high bandwidth and massive data needs
* Provides a DVD/CD-RW and one 3.5” hard drive on the head node.
* Board can accommodate one 2.5” hard disk drive per node on an optional basis.

“We are working in marine microbiology and genomics on projects that could help mankind in key areas, such as medical research and drug development,” said Dr. Rob Edwards, adjunct assistant professor, San Diego State University and researcher at the Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes. “The Orion system has been instrumental in aiding our projects in the oceans, allowing us to complete research tasks more efficiently than we would be able to with larger computer clusters. We don’t have a significant IT staff to manage a large cluster, and Orion provides systems we can conveniently operate and maintain ourselves.”

“Just as high-performance clusters of smaller servers have joined monolithic mainframes, server clusters are beginning to gain client-side analogues,” said Stacey Quandt, senior business analyst and open source practice leader, Robert Francis Group. “Such systems, if configured and deployed effectively, can deliver new computing options and enable more and new business benefits at many enterprises.”

Orion today also announced a new sales and marketing initiative for Europe. To date the company has generated significant sales leads in Europe and has already shipped systems to customers in several countries of the region. Orion is currently in discussions with value added resellers and distribution partners throughout Europe. The company expects to announce some of those relationships in the coming weeks.

96-Node Deskside System Dimensions

27” (height) x 25"(length) x 17” (width)

96-Node Deskside System Pricing
Deskside model pricing starts in the $100,000 range. A detailed system data sheet is available upon request. For customer inquiries, call 1-800-344-1367 or visit: http://www.orionmulti.com

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