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Cray CEO Ungaro tells LCI Conference attendees they are listening to customers
Posted by Barbara Jewett, Friday May 18 2007 @ 05:57PM EDT

Allan Torres, Founder, The Torres Group, LLC-- Cray Inc. is listening to its customers about their “Pain Points,” says Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro. A presentation by Ungaro is usually an open and relaxed talk interspersed with humor, interesting insights, and a long-term view. He did not disappoint attendees of the 8th LCI International Conference on High Perfomance Clustered Computing. The focus of his May 17 keynote was “From BeoWulf to Cray-o-Wulf: Extending the Linux clustering paradigm to supercomputing scale.”

Ungaro presented market realities and facts--like supercomputing with commodity processors will become almost solely focused on scalability, and that clock rates are not increasing. But the proliferation of multi-cores has renewed interest in novel processing architectures and accelerator technologies.

Cray is listening to its customers about their “pain points,” he says: that big clusters are hard to use and maintain related to power, cooling and floor space; lack of interconnect performance, applications, and programming; reliability, serviceability, and availability (RAS); storage and data management, and multi-processor and accelerator support.

Ungaro says Cray is bringing its Big Iron high-productivity computer systems approach and expertise to the commodity-driven cluster market, with a number of new and innovative directions and insights all based on their premise that pure commodity clusters begin to break down in a number of ways after about 1,000 processors. This approach comes from the direction of a convergence of a number of technologies and capabilities that Cray has expertise in or is developing with their Adaptive Supercomputing Framework, a very tightly-coupled integration of hardware and software that is focused around a building block architecture. This allows flexibility to a diverging market, where the high-end users always need more compute power and have different needs than mainstream users in the low and mid-range of the market. Making clusters easier to use is expected to draw in a new user set, especially if the needed parallel applications exist.

So what path will Cray take? One predicated on many options, notes Ungaro, based on Adaptive Supercomputing by combining multiple processing architectures into a single, scalable system. The HW foundation is comprised of interconnect, file systems, storage, and packaging for which Cray is well known. On top of this scalable HW foundation will be multiple commodity and specialized processor technologies based on Scalar X86/64, vector, multithreaded and exotic HW accelerators. So the diverse user community will have the flexibility and options to choose the processors or combinations that the user will need to attain a greater portion of sustainable performance on their applications, not someone else’s benchmarks. To further optimize Cray’s Adaptive Supercomputing model, above the HW level will be the requisite ultra-lightweight Linux OS, adaptive software such as libraries, tools, compilers, and runtime environment. All of this leads to a transparent interface to the application level and user.

When asked where will future performance gains come from, Ungaro responds, “tight integration of all of the various components of a system to enable scalability and tools to help the user take advantage of the architecture.“

Ungaro says Cray sees its market position “on the high-end … with systems in the 5K-10+K socket range, however, we are building systems targeted at 1,000 sockets and lower when it makes sense. But we see our technology providing the most value to customers at 1000+ sockets, at the high-end of HPC.”

Allan Torres is founder of The Torres Group, LLC and an independent consultant in the high performance computing, networking and storage markets. Contact him via http://oftheuniverse.com/index.html and read “About ” related to the Seymour Cray Documentary and “Sponsorship Opportunities” for SC’07.


< LCI Conference continues with hardware and software | Panasas Drives Industry Adoption of Storage to Solve Storage I/O Bottlenecks >

 

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CP4000 32x DL145G2 GigE Opteron, Dual Core
CP4000 64x DL145 GigE Opteron
CP4000 102x DL145 GigE Opteron
CP4000 32x DL145 Myri Opteron
Rocks Cluster 16-22 DL145 Opteron
Rocks Cluster 30-46 DL145 Opteron
Rocks Cluster 64-84 DL145 Opteron
LC3000 GigaE 24-36 DL145 Opteron
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LC3000 GigaE 16-22x DL145 Opteron
LC2000 GigaE 16-22x DL360G3 Xeon
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DL360 G5 System 3000Mhz 2P 1U EM64T Dual/Quad Core
DL385 G2 2600Mhz 2P Opteron Dual Core
DL380 G5 3000Mhz 2P EM64T Dual/Quad Core
DL140 3060MHz 2P IA32
DL140 G2 3600MHz 2P EM64T
DL145 2600MHz 2P Opteron
DL145 G2 2600MHz 2P Opteron Dual Core
DL360 G4 3400MHz 2P EM64T
DL360 G4p 3800MHz 2P EM64T
DL380 G4 3800MHz 2P EM64T
DL385 2800MHz 2P Opteron Dual Core
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DL580 G3 3330MHz 4P EM64T
DL585 2800MHz 4P Opteron Dual Core
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Montecito 2P-16P, rx2660-rx8640 (multi-system diagram)
rx2660 1600MHz 2P 2U Montecito Systems and Cluster
rx6600 1600MHz 4P 7U Single & Cluster
rx3600 1600MHz 2P 4U Single & Cluster
rx2620 1600MHz 2P 2U Single & Cluster
Superdome 64P base configuration
Integrity Family Portrait (rx1620 thru rx8620), IA64
rx1620 1600MHz 2P MSA1000 Cluster IA64
rx2620 1600MHz 2P MSA1000 Cluster IA64
rx4640 1600MHz 4P MSA1000 Cluster IA64
rx7620 1600MHz 8P 10U Systems and MSA1000 Cluster
rx8620 1600MHz 16P 17U Systems and MSA1000 Cluster
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