Bioinformatics Is Big News

Bioinformatics is big news for the major data center technology vendors

March 30, 2004

2 Min Read
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Bioinformatics, the science of developing databases and algorithims for complex biological research, is attracting significant attention from the major data center technology vendors.

Today, Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced a new cluster designed specifically for the research field. The Sun Fire Starter Cluster for Bioinformatics is a four-node x86 cluster of Sun Fire V60x and V65x servers, designed for environments with limited space.

The best-known example of bioinformatics work is the Human Genome Project, which began in 1990. The international effort to sequence the three billion DNA letters in the human genome was successfully completed last April, paving the way for more research.

Last week, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo announced that it is wiring up a massive grid of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) blade servers as part of its ongoing bioinformatics research into diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis (see Blades for Buffalo ).

SUNY Buffalo's Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics has built a blade-based supercomputer that boasts a peak performance of more than 1.32 teraflops. The supercomputer will also be used in conjunction with the center's Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) kit.Although bioinformatics conjures up images of high-end supercomputing, Sun is eager to tap into the lower-end of the research market with its latest announcement.

In a statement released today, Rick Lytel, chief technical officer of physical and life sciences at Sun, says, "Customers have been asking for an entry-level cluster solution that is easy to deploy, easy to manage, and priced affordably for a small lab environment."

Small enough to fit under a lab bench, the cluster is initially available for the Linux operating system using Intel Xeon processors. However, Sun expects to offer the cluster with the Opteron processor-based V20z server for both Linux and Solaris in the summer.

James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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