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Sun Aims High With Constellation Blade-Based System

In terms of density, the system designed for high-performance computing packs a maximum of 1.7 petaflops of computing power in a 48-blade rack-size chassis.

Part of the package includes an ultra-dense switch with a bisection bandwidth of 110 Tbytes per second, a five-stage internal full Clos (multistage switching) network, 3456 ports, SDR or DDR, and 24 line cards with 144 4X ports and 48 12X connectors each. The technology is packed into a dual-wide rack chassis.

For storage, the platform includes a Sun Fire X4500 powered by two AMD Opteron chips and 16 Gbytes of memory, and two PCI Express 4x slots driving 1-Gbyte per second input/output. The system packs 48 Tbytes of storage in a 4RU server.

The software stack includes Sun Studio 12 and Sun HPC Cluster tools; workload and cluster management applications; and the OpenSolaris operating system.

Sun built the platform with the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The system is designed to run complex applications, such as climate, weather, and ocean modeling; and earthquake and seismic simulations. The TACC supercomputer is scheduled to go into production this summer. The Sun Constellation System is set for release in the fourth quarter.

The platform is an "impressively dense package," said Gordon Haff, an analyst for Illuminata, adding that the Constellation System at the University of Texas is a "pretty big super-computing installation."

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