Cray Launches New Midrange Supercomputing Initiative
Cray has announced that the company is revitalizing its efforts to provide affordably priced, world-class Cray supercomputers to customers in the midrange supercomputing market. With prices starting at $200,000, an expanded base of researchers, scientists and engineers can now purchase a Cray system that marries the tightly integrated features of Cray’s high-end supercomputers with the ease-of-use and affordability of the company’s previous line of Cray CX systems.
Cray announced in a press release that the new entry-level midrange configuration combines the lower system cost and wide breadth of software application support previously found only in the Cray CX1 and Cray CX1000 systems with the proven petascale technologies and scalable architecture of the Cray XE6m and Cray XK6m line. Also included are all of the best features of the Company’s high-end systems, such as Cray’s Gemini interconnect, the latest version of the Cray Linux Environment, powerful AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs.
“The Cray CX line was a success for us, as it allowed us to reach a new segment of users in a broader set of industries,” said Peg Williams, Cray’s senior vice president of high performance computing systems. “For some time, customers have been looking for us to combine the strengths of both of our product offerings into a single architecture, and we’ve now accomplished that goal. By adding the final pieces to the puzzle — low starting prices, broad ISV applications support, scalability and a tightly integrated architecture — we now have an ideal supercomputing product to successfully meet the needs of the midrange market.”
The new offering features enhancements to Cray’s Cluster Compatibility Mode (CCM), which gives customers the ability to run applications from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) without modification. First introduced in April 2010, CCM is a fully standard x86 Linux environment that allows for simple, out-of-the box installation and running of parallel ISV applications without porting, re-linking or recompilation. This latest version of CCM, which continues support for multiple MPI libraries, also includes a number of new improvements that are designed to increase performance.
“Cray’s new entry-level configurations leverage its deep HPC technology portfolio to create purpose-built systems for the departmental technical computing market segment,” said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC. “This segment was worth around $3 billion in 2011, and IDC projects that it will grow at a healthy seven percent to eight percent CAGR through 2015.”
With this expansion of midrange products, the Company has now addressed the price-sensitive product application space with the Cray XE and Cray XK architectures, which scale up, or configure down, across the performance spectrum. This delivers an improved and contiguous compatibility over the Cray product lines, supporting migration of applications while delivering an impressive price/performance package ramping up from 6.5 teraflops. These lower-cost Cray XE6m and Cray XK6m systems also will target the market segments and customers that were previously served by the Cray CX line.