Supercomputer design and manufacturing firm Cray Inc. and Microsoft Corporation are introducing the new Cray CX1 supercomputer pre-installed with Windows HPC Server 2008.
With U.S. list prices starting at US$25,000 to over US$60,000 and the ability to fit into standard office environments and workflows, the new product reflects Microsoft and Cray's shared goal to drive high productivity computing farther into the mainstream in a broad array of markets including financial services, aerospace, automotive, petroleum, life sciences, government, academic and digital media.
The companies say some studies released by the Council on Competitiveness and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found that nearly all large firms using HPC technologies consider it indispensable for their ability to compete and survive, but smaller companies, as well as workgroups and departments in larger firms, have been hampered by the cost of HPC systems and a lack of access to in-house experts to help them use these systems.
The Cray CX1 supercomputer was designed to reduce entry barriers for small firms thinking of using HPC technologies, by reducing the cost of these systems and making it easier to have in-house experts with OS knowledge.
This is the most affordable supercomputer offered by Cray and is designed to be easy to purchase, deploy, operate and upgrade. Purpose-built for offices, laboratories and university departments, the Cray CX1 is the world's highest-performing computer that uses standard office power.
The Cray CX1 product incorporates up to 8 nodes and 16 Intel Xeon processors, either dual or quad core; delivers up to 64 gigabytes of memory per node; and provides up to 4 terabytes of internal storage.
Systems can be configured with a mix of compute, storage and visualization blades to meet customers' individual requirements. The quiet, deskside supercomputer features Windows HPC Server 2008 and interoperates with Linux. A three-year warranty with next-day, on-site Cray-certified support is standard.
"Windows HPC Server 2008, in combination with the Cray CX1 supercomputer, will provide outstanding sustained performance on applications," said Vince Mendillo, director, HPC at Microsoft Corp. "This combined solution will enable companies in various sectors to unify their Windows desktop and server workflows. Many Microsoft financial services customers, for example, want to unify back-office modeling and simulation with the work of front-office trading desks."
The Cray CX1 high productivity system is also the first Cray product to incorporate Intel processors and the first milestone of a collaboration Cray and Intel announced in April to develop a range of HPC systems and technologies over the next several years to address various segments of the HPC industry.