Dell enters HPCC market in Ireland with UCC


19 Mar 2003

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Dell today announced that University College Cork (UCC) has purchased a high performance computing cluster (HPCC) solution. This is the first public announcement of an Irish customer using the Dell solution.

However, the company says that it is also working with a number of unnamed Irish customers.

The UCC solution, which was manufactured at Dell’s European facility in Limerick, consists of 50 Dell PowerEdge 1655MC modular servers, each with twin processors and 1GB of RAM, in nine chassis’s and one 42U rack. The new system will be used in UCC’s Boole Centre for Research in Informatics, a new centre funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) involving the School of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Computer Science. The cluster will be used by researchers and will also be connected to Grid-Ireland (the national computational grid for Ireland).

“This solution has enabled us to enter the realms of high performance computing in terms of processing power at a fraction of the cost. Ultimately this will enable research to take place at UCC, which might not otherwise have happened,” said Dr John Morrison, of UCC’s Department of Computer Science.

Clustering provides the ability to combine multiple systems with shared storage to deliver services a single system could not. HPCCs combine multiple symmetric multi-processor (SMP) computer systems together with high-speed interconnects to achieve the computing power traditionally achieved from ‘supercomputers’. HPCC systems work to complete a single request by dividing the work among the computer nodes, reassembling the results and presenting them to the client as if a single system did the work.

HPCC is a relatively recent departure for Dell but an area where it is eager to compete. According to International Data Corporation’s recently published third quarter High Performance Technical Computer QView report, the company has made gains in the overall market based on the strength of its Intel based HPCC offering. Dell now currently ranks No. 1 in the Intel-cluster market and number four in the HPC (High Performance Computing) market overall.

As well as the contract signed with UCC, Dell says that it has signed agreements with several customers in Europe to provide HPCC solutions. The new customers include the likes of Oxford University, Companie Generale de Geophysique (CGG), MTU Aero Engines and Fiat Research.

By Dick O’Brien