IBM Cell-based blade system now available

IBM LogoVia Supercomputing Online:

Finally some good news so that we can all forget about the TOR-craze for a moment. Supercomputing Online reports that IBM announced today the availability of the IBM BladeCenter QS20, a Cell Broadband Engine based addition to existing IBM infrastructure:

“The IBM BladeCenter QS20 is a Cell BE-based blade system designed for businesses that can benefit from high performance computing power and the unique capabilities of the Cell BE processor to run graphic-intensive applications and is especially suitable for computationally intense, high performance workloads across a number of industries including digital media, medical imaging, aerospace, defense and communications.

The IBM BladeCenter QS20 extends and deepens IBM Power Architecture technology and is complementary to our existing rack-optimized and blade server products based on Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron, and IBM POWER processors.”

One double-wide blade holds two Cell BE processors running at 3.2 GHz and is to be seen as an extension to IBM’s System Cluster 1350. The datasheet mentions 1 GB of RAM (512 MB per processor – does that mean that both CPUs work individually rather than in SMP? I think it’s just an irritating fact in the data-sheet), a 40-GB harddrive, two Gigabit-Ethernet NICs. As an option 1 or 2 InfiniBand 4x adaptors can be connected via PCI-Express. The blade runs Fedora Core 5-based Linux for Cell.

OK, so much for the details, now let’s fire up the mighty oracle-mode: Is that possibly the hardware-basis for the Los Alamos Roadrunner supercomputer we’re all speculating about? Would that possibly mean that the mentioned CBEs of Roadrunner aren’t tightly integrated Co-processors to the Opteron-CPUs? Are they just going to deploy a 1350 together with a bunch of QS20 and wire them up via InfiniBand and Gigabit-Ethernet?

Now that would be cheap and kinda disappointed, wouldn’t it…? And i lose a fiver. Ah, I’m not. Nobody accepted the bet :-) Know more? Are you one of the lucky ones who already deployed a QS20? Tell me! Or use the fancy comment-function.

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One Response to IBM Cell-based blade system now available

  1. hpcanswers says:

    I don’t know about IBM, but Cell-based 1U’s have been available from Mercury for about six months or so: http://www.mc.com/products/view/index.cfm?id=96&type=boards

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