Dell learning from its recent HPC wins?

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Dell has begun placing large HPC systems into a few centers around the world, like the one at 5,200 node Linux cluster at TACC, currently at #12 on The List. And they may have learned a few things from building those large clusters that they’re trying to build a market out of.

The Register is reporting on Dell’s Cloud Computing Solution:

… Dell has pledged to craft custom hardware for service providers looking to purchases thousands or tens of thousands of systems. The bespoke design and installation attack breaks with Dell’s traditional no fuss, no muss model and has the company looking a lot more like services fiends such as IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems.

The Register reckons (and it makes sense to me) that this is a frontal attack on Rackable’s data center business

The Dell Cloud Computing Solution is a shot at Rackable Systems, which has been chewing through the service provider crowd. Norrod made the Rackable attack rather obvious by calling out Microsoft, Yahoo! and Amazon by name as targets for the new service. Rackable counts all three companies as its premiere clients.

This is a big change from the “if it’s not on the web site you can’t have it” Dell we’ve all come to know and…well…known. They’re promising to invest real engineering effort to get from the customer’s requirements to a custom datacenter solution. It’s a brave new world, Virginia.

They don’t say much at all on their web site (where by not much at all I mean that a search for the keywords “cloud computing” turned up nothing), so it’s not clear yet just how significant this effort will be. Guess we’ll have to wait for the “grand opening.”

[Update: I did find a press release.]