Cray & Microsoft Partner on Cheap Supercomputer
| Credit: Cray Inc.|
"Because the CX1 is purpose built for offices, laboratories and other non-traditional HPC environments, it requires no dedicated computer room, special power or cooling requirements. The CX1 runs on power from a standard wall socket (20amp/110/220v). This ability enables even the end user to have supercomputing power in their departmental environment. To keep the system within comfortable noise levels there is an active noise cancellation system running. The CX1 can simply be plugged in, set up and connected to the network, running just like a typical office computer."
Cray envisions the CX1 finding a niche in industries such as digital media, earth sciences, financial services, and life sciences. By partnering with Microsoft, Cray is able to sell the CX1 with Microsoft's Windows HPC Server 2008 operating system (OS). Having a Microsoft-based OS should make it easier for companies to integrate the CX1 into existing Microsoft-based infrastructures--especially in environments where businesses use Microsoft front- and back-ends, such as those based on the .NET framework or C# programming language. The CX1 is also available with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS.
"The Cray CX1 product incorporates up to 8 nodes and 16 Intel Xeon processors, either dual or quad core; delivers up to 64 gigabytes of memory per node; and provides up to 4 terabytes of internal storage. Systems can be configured with a mix of compute, storage and visualization blades to meet customers' individual requirements."
| CX1 brochure (Credit: Cray Inc.)|
"Scientists at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA plan to use a Cray CX1 with Microsoft HPC Server 2008 for mathematical modeling and visualization. This will support their development of advanced computational algorithms and scientific approaches for the comprehensive and quantitative mapping of brain structure and function."
Certainly, not every small business needs an HPC system. But for those that could benefit from this level of computational power, the CX1 lowers the barrier of entry with a lower cost, and familiar hardware and OS--the CX1 is the first HPC Cray has offered that uses Intel processors and a Microsoft OS. And even though the CX1 might occupy the bottom rung of the HPC ladder, Cray states that the "CX1 system would have ranked as one of the top 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world in 2004." The thought of all this computational power makes us want to ask the question, "shall we play a game?"