Building supercomputers from clusters of Intel-based computers running Linux is quickly becoming the way to build a supercomputer. Linux Networx, from right here in Utah, is one of those firms. These machines cost millions of dollars but are still one-third the cost of supercomputers built using other methods.
"The tier-one vendors don't have as much of a handle on this market as other areas," said Douglas Bone, president of Fremont, Calif.-based California Digital, which has also installed large Linux clusters for several Fortune 500 companies. Other small companies are involved in the nascent field as well.
Utah's Linux Networx, for instance, is building two supercomputing clusters based on Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor for the Los Alamos National Laboratory: A 2,816-processor cluster will be used to study nuclear stockpiling, while a smaller 512-processor cluster will be dedicated to smaller problems with lower security clearances. The company is also creating a cluster with 2,132 Intel Xeon processors for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.From Makers of white-box supercomputers hit their stride | CNET News.com
Referenced Wed May 19 2004 12:00:01 GMT-0600
The c|net article lists several other vendors in this space. The trick for these companies is moving down market. There's a lot of PR value in building the second fastest computer in the world, but that's a small market. The question is "is there a market for clusters of 8, 16, 32, and 64 nodes that cost several hundred thousand?" Many of these vendors have had trouble penetrating that market and consequently may not survive.