Cray, Dell ink deal to sell server clusters

Cray, Dell ink deal to sell server clusters

Longtime supercomputer maker Cray Inc. of Seattle today announced a deal with Dell Computer Corp. to market custom-built clusters using Dell's PowerEdge servers and storage products.

Under the three-year agreement, Cray will design and build the clusters and provide installation, clustering software, maintenance and training to customers, Cray spokesman Steve Conway said.

A year ago, Cray announced its first effort to sell commodity Linux clusters based on Compaq Computer Corp.'s Alpha processor [see story at www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/3589-1.html]. Since then, however, Compaq declared it would phase out its Alpha chip line over the next few years, and Cray's supplier of rackmount thin servers for the commodity clusters could no longer be guaranteed a steady supply of Alpha-related parts.

'The writing was on the wall for Alpha at that point,' Conway said.

Cray will continue to design clusters for Linux, specifically Red Hat Linux 7.2 from Red Hat Inc. of Durham, N.C. The company has 'a huge reservoir of software' from its T3E parallel supercomputer that it can add to clusters, Conway said.

Dell also announced its own High-Performance Computing Clusters program for selling off-the-shelf clusters of up to 128 processors. But Dell spokeswoman Roe Thiessen said her company's cluster program would complement, not compete against, Cray's reseller effort.

Dell's clusters are designed for customers who can set up the clusters on their own, Thiessen said. Dell may refer customers who need custom and other specialized services to Cray.

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