HP Offers Packaged High-Performance Computing For Midsize Companies

Based on the "Shorty" blade server, the CP Workgroup System takes up 2 square feet of floor space, and plugs into a common wall outlet.

Hewlett-Packard has introduced a high-performance computing system in a box optimized for midsize organizations in engineering, oil and gas, financial services, and life and material sciences.

The HP Cluster Platform Workgroup System is based on the computer maker's BladeSystem c3000 specifications, a compact, all-in-one system for running business applications on up to five blade servers. The c3000, dubbed "Shorty," was introduced in September.

The CP Workgroup System takes up 2 square feet of floor space, and plugs into a common wall outlet, a feature of the c3000. The new system supports up to 16 compute nodes. Customers can choose between HP blades powered by Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processors or Intel's Xeon processors. The maximum speed of the system is 0.8 TFlops per second (TFlop/s). One TFlop/s averages out to a trillion floating point operations per second.

Software options include Red Hat or Suse Linux distributions with HP's XC Cluster management software. Windows clusters are available with the Microsoft Compute Cluster Server. The new system is also available with several options for storage, power and cooling management systems.

To simplify the new product further, HP plans to offer the choice of several software packages, called Solution Blocks, which come pre-loaded in the hardware. HP is offering two packages today: Accelrys' Materials Studio for material science organizations, and Ansys's Fluent software for computer-aided engineering.

In addition to the CP Workgroup System, HP also unveiled Tuesday at the Supercomputing 2007 tradeshow a high-performance rack server called the ProLiant DL160 G5, which is powered by Intel's Xeon 5400 quad-core processors. The new system will be available in HP cluster configurations.

The CP Workgroup System was scheduled to ship this week, but as of Thursday, was not yet listed on HP's Web site. Pricing depends on configuration. The DL160 G5 starts at about $1,500.

HP is not alone in trying to attract midsize organization with pre-packaged computer systems. Rivals Dell and IBM have also been marketing systems that they claim require very little setup and maintenance from customers.

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