IBM Offers High Performance Computing Outside the Lab

New BladeCenter QS22 Delivers Supercomputing Power for Everything From Financial Trading to Oil-Field Discovery
(PresseBox) (Armonk,NY, ) Driven by growing commercial need in areas such as financial services, digital media creation and medical imaging, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today expanded its High Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities for businesses with the introduction of the IBM® BladeCenter® QS22 -- a new, economical supercomputing technology inspired by advanced scientific research facilities.

The heart of the QS22 is a new processor compliant with the Cell Broadband Engine(TM) (Cell/B.E.) Architecture, originally developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba to provide the computing power for cutting-edge gaming applications. And for the most challenging arithmetic operations, this new processor, the IBM PowerXCell(TM) 8i, offers five-times the speed of the original Cell/B.E. processor.

Coupled with additions like 16-times more memory (up to 32GB) than its predecessors, the QS22 can handle workloads that previously required dozens of servers. As an example, for a physician, that could mean finding and diagnosing a tumor in seconds instead of hours.

IBM has built a strong ecosystem around the new QS22 to address critical real-time analytic and imaging projects, with over 20 IBM business partners to enable key solutions for the Cell/B.E. technology and 35 universities to provide in-depth curriculum and resources. In total, these investments create an environment where HPC innovations can easily be introduced into the market, and a wider spectrum of businesses can take advantage of its unique capabilities and potential. Already, more than 50 customers worldwide are moving significant workloads to the QS22. For example:

- Threshold Animation Studios, with the help of IBM, plans on changing the way animated movies and visual effects are made... forever. Today, creating visual effects and animation is a long and labor-intensive process where key creative decisions are often being made without a complete visualization of the final result. This in turn leads to multiple versions of a shot until a suitable result is achieved. Using the QS22 technology, Threshold's goal is to create a real-time visualization system that will show producers and directors a close approximation of the final product at nearly any stage of the production -- enabling efficiencies in the production pipeline that were once thought impossible.

- Platform Computing's 'Symphony' offers a reliable and scalable HPC infrastructure for performing lightning-fast, pre- and post-trade analytics. Coupled with the new QS22, traders can run portfolio simulations much faster -- reducing time-to-results by up to 80 percent. In addition, this tightly integrated solution facilitates rapid and easy deployment of sophisticated analytical applications to mission-critical trading environments.

- The ultra-high-speed communications capabilities of the new QS22 means Simudyne can create and run vastly improved visual, immersive, real-time simulations. These simulations offer significant potential benefits to companies in petroleum exploration and many other industries. Simudyne's simulation platform is specifically designed to assist in hydrocarbon exploration by growing algorithms that help speed up seismic surveys, optimize complex logistics networks and create software that improves according to the same principles that drive adaptation in natural systems.

The New Enterprise Data Center

According to technology analyst firm Gartner, more than 70 percent of Global 1000 companies will need to dramatically change their data centers in the next five years -- as they are running out of power and space, while managing skyrocketing energy and cooling costs. In response, IBM is helping clients develop a new enterprise data center, which offers dramatic improvements in IT efficiency and provides for rapid deployment of new IT services to support future business growth. IBM is helping clients move to new enterprise data centers by focusing on best practice around virtualization, highly efficient IT, service management and cloud computing.

The QS22 was designed from the ground-up as a key element of this new enterprise data center initiative. For development, the QS22 boasts an open environment, utilizing the flexibility of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the primary operating system and the open development environment of Eclipse. For energy efficiency, it increases the performance-per-watt and better manages power draw from the overall server chassis from previous generations, thanks to some key built-in features:

- The IBM Power Configurator helps systems managers understand the overall power requirements for operation.
- The IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager helps monitor, control and virtualize the system's power.
- The IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger reduces data center hot spots.
- The IBM Data Center Energy Efficiency services optimize and future- proof a data center for maximum performance.

In addition, IBM has made available thousands of pages of technical documentation on the Cell/B.E. Architecture to the public, including a free, full-system simulator. IBM has released an upgrade to its Software Development Kit (SDK) for Multicore Acceleration v3, providing enhancements and templates to enable clients to utilize the new features of QS22.

The new QS22 complements all other IBM BladeCenter offerings, such as those based on Intel® Xeon®, AMD Opteron(TM) and IBM Power(TM) processors. IBM BladeCenter is the broadest portfolio of blade offerings in the industry, designed to address a range of client environments like those for small and medium business, telecommunications and -- with the QS22 in particular -- high performance computing. By utilizing the PowerXCell 8i processor, the QS22 also allows IT managers to evaluate how much of an application would need the supercomputing power of the Cell/B.E. Architecture and how much could remain on a traditional system, providing the full range of options in the midst of other system priorities.

"The QS22 is a technological leap over the physical limitations of traditional processors that often dampen the ability of organizations to reach their goals," said Jim Comfort, vice president, IBM Systems & Technology Group. "IBM has delivered on the promise of integrating HPC into the business world in a way that allows developers, clients and IT departments to ramp up quickly and get results without delay."

All in the HPC Family

The QS22 is part of a robust family of HPC products at IBM, all designed to deliver a holistic approach to computing that involves designing and delivering the fastest, highly efficient, easily accessible technical solutions to clients. From the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture-based BladeCenter QS22 to the Blue Gene supercomputer, to products like IBM's Power Systems, industry standard clusters and high-performance System Storage, the HPC family at IBM is the result of a rich history of discovery and award-winning innovation.

The QS22 will be available in early June, while the SDK for Multicore Acceleration v3 is available now.

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