[LINK] Grid data factory world's largest network computer
tomw99 at fastmail.fm
Wed May 21 09:12:48 EST 2003
At 19/05/03 02:44, Chirgwin, Richard wrote (was"RE: grangenet":
>... a "grid computing implementation strategy" by any listed company to be
>a good reason to dump it's stock. ...
By an amazing coincidence, the following was just released:
Link Institute LinkAlert
GRID "DATA FACTORY" WORLD'S LARGEST NETWORK COMPUTER
Canberra, 21 May 2003: The vision for the next Internet was unveiled in
Canberra today with the announcement of the grid "data factory". Professor
Klerphel, Director of the Link Institute announced a breakthrough in large
scale networked computing.
In a revolutionary breakthrough the Link Institute has developed a system
combining the space saving features of rack mounting and the low cost of
commodity PCs. The world's first Data-Factry (TM pending) is under
construction in Canberra for an undisclosed national security government
Professor Klerphel explained that US cluster computers are built using rack
These are more compact, but more expensive, than systems like Australia's
Bunyip supercomputer, which use commodity PCs stacked on shelves.
The world's largest cluster computer is being built from modules similar
in size to standard rack mount computer cabinets, but made from commodity
PCs fixed to low cost industrial shelving. These modules are stacked in an
industrial pallet warehouse, to build a low cost system with thousands of
The design of the cluster computer is based on the Australian Bunyip
supercomputer <http://tux.anu.edu.au/Projects/Beowulf/>, with modules
holding 16 PCs (4 rows of 4 PCs, plus centrally mounted gigabit Ethernet
switches). Each module is slightly larger than a standard equipment rack,
but is much lower cost and can be stacked for space saving.
Modules are built by fixing the PCs on steel shelves with webbing straps, a
technology proven in deployable military command centres
<http://www.tomw.net.au/nt/tt97.html#IC3I>. The modules are assembled and
tested, before being shipped to the site and plugged in. These modules are
compatible with standard industrial pallet handling equipment for ease of
transport. A small 16 module (512 processor) test system was assembled in a
room the size of a squash court in less than a day.
For the full scale system a low cost industrial pallet rack warehouse
<http://www.warehouse-systems.co.uk/Pallet%20racking.htm> was converted
into a computer centre. Equipment modules are tested at ground level, then
stacked 15m high, using fork lift trucks. Lighting and air conditioning are
hung from the ceiling, with cabling snaking down the racks, using standard
industrial fittings. There is no expensive false floor, or office quality
fittings, just a sealed concrete floor. Heavy air and power conditioning
equipment is pallet mounted at ground level for fast installation and
maintenance. Staff wear overalls and hard hats, rather than business suits.
The temperature in the building is allowed to fluctuate more than in a
traditional data centre, to reduce air conditioning costs. "The building is
around ambient temperature most of the year, so the air conditioning need
is minimal. Our computers are designed for a normal office environment and
so doesn't need a lot of cosseting. Much of the space at a conventional
data centre is taken up by the air conditioning systems, not computers."
Professor Kelrphel said.
The roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy and air
conditioning. To further reduce costs the system has a smart power system
to switch off modules when not in use. A small uninterruptable power system
can supply essential modules in the event of mains power loss.
The first phase of the system is in a small warehouse of 800 sq m. and has
1,024 modules (with 32,768 processors). Plans are to expand the system to
1,000 times this size. The warehouse is near an industrial park with low
cost land, and good power and telecommunication services.
Because of its national security application the location of the data
factory is not being advertised. While it looks like a normal warehouse
from the ground, the building is difficult to spot from the air by any
potential terrorist. The roof uses standard pre-painted steel decking, but
with panels of different colours arranged in a computer generated
In a related development three smaller prefabricated DataFactys are said to
being readied for deployment to Iraq by high speed ship
<http://www.tomw.net.au/2002/tsv1x/index.html>. Construction is expected to
take seven days, with the systems rumoured to be being destined to run the
new Iraq government, via the fibre optic network built to control Scud
missiles. The system is are said to have more processing power than all
computers used for administering the USA.
Tom Worthington FACS tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
http://www.tomw.net.au PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617
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