HP's new scale out focus

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Today HP announced new products and a new organization focused on the needs of scale out compute customers — those customers whose real requirements are dominated by the need for lots and lots of FLOPs working on loosely coupled (or uncoupled) workloads. Think Web 2.0, rapid processing of independent data streams, and specific traditional HPC workloads like biotech and perhaps image processing.

From HP’s release [PDF warning]:

HP logoHP also has formed a new business unit – the HP Scalable Computing & Infrastructure organization — to focus on delivering products and solutions tailored to the unique needs of Web 2.0, high-performance computing (HPC) and cloud computing customers.

The SC&I group is announcing two products and one service offering today

The Intel® Xeon®-based HP ProLiant BL2x220c G5 is the world’s first server blade to combine two independent servers in a single blade. This helps scale-out customers lower data center infrastructure costs and cut space requirements in half.

…The recently announced HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System (ExDS9100), a highly scalable storage system designed to simplify the management of multiple petabytes(2) of data at an affordable cost. This makes it ideal for online and digital media businesses.

…HP Data Center Transformation Services that improve operational efficiency and lower costs by aligning scale-out data center strategies with business goals. These services address all scale-out data center domains, including facilities, networks and process management.

There is actually a lot that is interesting in this announcement. The new group was formed by merging the HPC team with a group inside HP that has been flying under the radar working with big media and Web 2.0 companies (like Weta Digital of Lord of the Rings fame and Fox Interactive Media) to provide custom scale out compute solutions.

A fully stacked 42U rack of BL2x220c G5 blades with Xeon 5400 quadcore chips will pack 12.3 TFLOPS into 8 square feet of floor space — pretty dense for air-cooled commodity compute.

I talked with HP’s Ed Turkel about this announcement and what it all means for HP’s strategy. You can find an article with those details, and more about the product offering, at HPCwire.