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Clusters Make a Stand

More and more companies are turning to high-power grids and clusters of servers to provide the horsepower needed in their data centers. But the flurry of new clustering announcements also raises the question about how these large projects will link this infrastructure together.

For example, take GlobeXplorer LLC., a specialist in providing satellite images and aerial photography, which has become the latest firm to build a major cluster of servers in its data center. The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based firm announced this week that it has implemented 40 PowerEdge 1750 servers from Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) in an attempt to tame 400 terabytes of raw image data.

In total, the cluster offers a compute engine that can work at speeds of more than 448 gigaflops, which, in case you were wondering, stands for a million floating point operations per second.

Such an ambitious project raises some good quesions: How would the networking infrastructure handle the massive amounts of data being transferred?

GlobeXplorer is using Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet to link its cluster, which is performing well. Rob Shanks, the company's president and CEO says, We have very little downtime – we don’t have any bandwidth issues.”

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