IBM Expands Compute On-Demand Capacity - InformationWeek

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6/26/2006
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IBM Expands Compute On-Demand Capacity

The expansion gives customers access to Unix-based capacity, as well as utility computing capacity of more than 15 teraflops.

IBM on Monday announced the expansion of computing capacity available through its Deep Computing On Demand centers, including additional access to its BlueGene supercomputer and, for the first time, the ability to utilize Unix-based capacity based on its Power5+ technology.

In addition, IBM recently announced it has achieved sustained performance of more than 200 trillion floating-point operations per second (teraflops) on its BlueGene system housed at the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

IBM will be adding on-demand, or utility computing, capacity totaling more than 15 teraflops of computing performance based on either its BlueGene, Power5+, or Opteron BladeCenter systems, says Herb Schultz, marketing manager for BlueGene.

The on-demand centers were conceived "as a way to drive options and flexibility to customers who do want to, or need to, buy large systems," Schultz says. The on-demand capacity is available to customers seeking to address peak-cycle demands that exceed internal capacity.

"We've increased capacity primarily to meet a combination of both a demand increase and in anticipation there will be higher demand going forward," he says.

IBM's recent efforts with NNSA on the BlueGene platform is an indication of the levels of computing capability that can be made available through its on-demand efforts to help customers who are looking to create the highest possible performing system for internal use, Schultz says.

IBM and NNSA were able to achieve a sustained performance of 207.3 teraflops operation running the "Qbox" computer code for conducting materials science simulations critical to national security, he says.

The computer simulation capabilities developed provide the nuclear weapons analysis that the NNSA needs to keep the nuclear weapons stockpile safe, secure, and reliable without underground testing. The 207-teraflop operation level was achieved in part due to new mathematical libraries developed by software researchers at IBM that take best advantage of the BlueGene system, Schultz says.

The latest benchmark capability is particularly impressive because it shows what can be achieved in "real-world applications," he says. "This is more than a supercomputing metric. This is an indication of breakthrough science that can occur when you run simulations on a system with this kind of capability."

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