In effort to reach out to researchers with limited funding and a desire to own their own supercomputer, Cray is now offering a line of commodity supercomputers with a starting price tag of $200,000.
Cray's entry-level offering combines the software support previously only reserved for Cray CX1 and Cray CX1000 systems with the petascale capabilities of the Cray XE6m and Cray XK6m line. The $200,000 system also comes equipped with Cray's Gemini interconnect, the latest version of the Cray Linux Environment, powerful AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors, and GPUs.
"Cray's new entry-level configurations leverage its deep HPC technology portfolio to create purpose-built systems for the departmental technical computing market segment," said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC. "This segment was worth around $3 billion in 2011 and IDC projects that it will grow at a healthy 7 percent to 8 percent CAGR through 2015."
The new "affordable" supercomputer is not really a full-fledged supercomputer per say but rather a blade server configuration that's essentially a baby XE6m configuration with six blades and 49 sockets using Opteron 6200s. The server rack is capable of 6.5 teraflops — which comes out to about $30,769 per teraflop.
These new entry-level supercomputers might be the perfect solution for researchers interested in developing code for larger-scale systems, such as Blue Waters at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois or the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.