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Blades for Buffalo

Another grid has been glimpsed... in Buffalo. The State University of New York (SUNY) branch there is wiring up a massive grid of blade servers for a "Bioinformatics" project.

The school's Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics has built a supercomputer that boasts a peak performance of more than 1.32 teraflops. It's using a cluster of blade servers to do so. It is using blade servers to drive down the cost of its supercomputing and to support research into diseases such as cancer, Alzheimers, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis.

A cluster of 266 IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) BladeCenter HS20 systems is running Red Hat Linux. Each of these uses two 2.8GHz Intel Xeon processors with 1.0 GB of memory.

“It’s a much more efficient use of power, so the TCO [total cost of ownership] is lower," says Dr Jeffrey Skolnik, the Center’s director. "I would expect it to be 30 percent to 40 percent less in the cost of electricity.”

The Center already has a cluster of Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) servers and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) storage systems, although the new supercomputer is expected to deliver significant savings when it goes live next month.

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