Cray boosts Linux supercomputing

Supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. made a pair of announcements today that will boost the supercomputing power of the Linux operating system.

Cray officials say the company plans to offer large-scale supercomputer systems — Alpha Linux SuperClusters — that combine increased problem-solving speed with powerful data-center features.

The company also announced a strategic alliance with API NetWorks Inc., a provider of Linux-based hardware. The alliance is designed to strengthen Cray's plan to bring Linux clusters to data-center environments.

As part of the multiyear collaboration, API will supply its most powerful server, the CS20, as the foundation for Cray's SuperCluster series.

The Cray series will be among the first Linux-based supercomputers capable of handling mission-critical data, said Steve Conway, director of corporate communications at Cray.

"There are multiple components to the agreement," Conway said. "We'll be using API products in our products and collaborating actively in marketing and development. By development, I mean we want to give input for successor products on API's side."

Eric Pitcher, director of government and university marketing at Cray, said Cray and API intend to pursue three target markets:

The government classified and research arenas, including applications in large-scale data centers for physics, chemistry and bioinformatics. The national and regional supercomputing centers typically found in academia. Large industrial clients. "Our partnership with Cray promises to bring Alpha Linux into the largest engineering and research organizations, where it will be applied to some of the world's most challenging problems," Gerry Talbot, president and chief technology officer of API, said in a release.

The new products' data-center capabilities include high availability; global restart, which, in the event of a system interrupt, saves all users' work and continues jobs upon recovery; global resource management; and job scheduling, prioritization and accounting.

The product line will be formally launched in the coming months and is scheduled to begin shipping in mid-2001. Cray has received an early order agreement from a private firm and expects to announce more orders, including some from government customers, by the time of the product launch, Conway said.

The government is Cray's largest customer. Among the company's federal customers are multiple agencies within the Defense Department, as well as the National Cancer Institute, Conway said.

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