IBM Debuts Low-Priced Prepackaged Clusters - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

IBM Debuts Low-Priced Prepackaged Clusters

It's aiming to make supercomputer-type capabilities available to a wider range of customers.

IBM on Tuesday began selling prepackaged clusters of low-priced computers designed to offer supercomputer-type capabilities to company and university departments for less than $200,000.

The clusters consist of IBM servers loaded with Linux or Windows, powered by Intel or Advanced Micro Devices Inc. chips, plus a management server and network connections. Prices range from $40,000 to $200,000. IBM VP Debra Goldfarb says small and midsize companies in industries such as auto-parts manufacturing, oil exploration, and digital film production have been demanding such "departmental supercomputers." So have university research departments. "The SMB space has been screaming for high-performance computing," she says.

IBM is also working on preloading commonly used high-performance-computing software programs to create clusters tailored for applications such as bioinformatics or computational fluid dynamics. The company is close to wrapping up a deal with Gaussian, a producer of research software for chemists, chemical engineers, biochemists, and physicists, says Herb Schultz of IBM's Deep Computing division. He says a half-dozen cluster "personalities" are scheduled to be available by year's end.

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