Dell Jumps on the Linux Cluster Bandwagon

NEW YORK — Eager to show its support for the open-source community, Dell Computer on Wednesday announced it has added high-performance computing cluster (HPCC) capabilites to its PowerEdge 1655MC blade servers — the company’s first blades that support the Linux environment.

The announcement underscores the emphasis that IT vendors at the Linux World Expo are placing on cluster computing , which leverages an existing infrastructure with the capabilities to perform complex computations previously reserved for mainframes. For example, IBM rolled out Unilever as its newest linux client. The Dutch food processing multinational plans to take advantage of the Linux environment for grid computing initiatives eight to 10 years down the road, a Unilever official told reporters.

But Dell is also late in the game. Sun Microsystems and Platform Computing released Linux-based clusters at the previous Linux World Expo last summer in San Francisco. Today, Sun also announced grid engine portal based on its Sun ONE platform.

Dell said that its HPCC 1655MC clusters doubles the density of their servers while maximizing spatial limitations. Dell’s HPCC’s program offers configurations of 6 to 132 server-nodes using the Red Hat Linux distribution. (Dell only distributes Red Hat on its hardware.) Customers can put up to 84 servers a standard rack.

So Dell is trying to take the next logical step by announcing it has also created a network of HPCC partners to learn more about customers’ specialized requirements and to help deliver more grid-based solutions.

“Dell’s HPCC partner network is an important step in delivering the many specialized computing solutions that are required in the high-performance computing market today,” said Deb Goldfarb, vice president at International Data Corp. “Dell is continuing to bring value to supercomputing with the standardized solutions that have made the industry take notice.”

Prices for a 6-node configuration start at $42,000.

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