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Monday, 07 September 2009 10:33

Supercomputer speeds up with flash drives

Written by Nick Farell


Image

It is not just the chips


Boffins
running the San Diego Supercomputer Centre have sped up a supercomputer by using solid-state drives.

Allan Snavely, associate director at SDSC, in a statement. SDSC is a part of the University of California, San Diego said that the new computer could help solve science problems faster than systems with traditional hard drives. He said that a flash drive will provide faster data throughput, which should help the supercomputer analyse data an "order-of-magnitude faster" than hard drive-based supercomputers.

Data-mining problems that are essentially looking for a 'needle in the haystack' can be done about ten times faster if they worked out on a supercomputer using SSD drives he said SDSC intends to use the SSD system, called Dash, to develop new cures for diseases and to understand the development of Earth.

The first system to use flash memory technology, the system has already begun trial runs. It has 68 Appro International GreenBlade servers with dual-socket quad-core Intel Xeon 5500 series processor nodes offering up to 5.2 teraflops of performance at peak speeds. It has 48GB of memory per node, which gives users access to up to 768GB of memory over 16 nodes.

It is based around Intel's SATA solid-state drives, with four special I/O nodes serving up 1TB of flash memory to any other node.

Nick Farell

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