High-performance servers created for midsize companies

Innovative virtualisation vendor ScaleMP is attempting to bring high-performance computing to mid-size companies with a model that is essentially the opposite of VMware's.

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Innovative virtualisation vendor ScaleMP is attempting to bring high-performance computing to midsize companies with a model that is essentially the opposite of VMware's.

Instead of carving an x86 server into numerous partitions, ScaleMP aggregates multiple x86 machines and turns them into one powerful computer.

Analyst Jeffrey Hill at Aberdeen Group called ScaleMP's technology "quite astounding". Without such technology, a business could join x86 machines together in a clustering model, but this would require IT expertise typically beyond what small and mid-market companies possess, he said. ScaleMP makes high-performance computing affordable and easy enough that it becomes obtainable for a workgroup within a mid-size business, he said.

ScaleMP started developing its technology in 2003 and began selling it 18 months ago through systems manufacturers, who mainly targeted Global 1000 businesses, according to ScaleMP founder and chief executive Shai Fultheim.

This week, ScaleMP announced a new version of its technology that targets midsize companies and is being distributed through value-added resellers (VARs), such as Supermicro. ScaleMP this week also announced an $8 million (£4 millon) round of funding that brings total venture investments up to $26 million (£13 million), from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, TL Ventures and ABS Ventures.

The new software product, vSMP Foundation Standalone, lets customers connect two dual-socket Intel Xeon processor-based systems with InfiniBand to create a four-socket platform for less than $10,000 (£5,000), ScaleMP said.

This lets customers obtain symmetric multiprocessor computers using basic x86 systems, ScaleMP said. This model is about 70 percent less expensive "compared to traditional four-socket systems, in addition to 25 percent power consumption savings and 50 percent rack-space savings," it stated.

"Once loaded into the memory of each of the system boards, vSMP Foundation aggregates the computer, memory and I/O capabilities of each system, and presents a unified virtual system to both the operating system and the applications running above the operating system."

The higher-end version of this technology that's been on the market for 18 months uses as many as 16 x86 servers to create a system with as many as 128 cores and one terabyte of RAM. A virtual system based on the new version that targets midsize companies would have 16 cores if it uses quad-core processors.

ScaleMP founder Fultheim previously was chief technology officer at Israeli venture-capital fund BRM Capital, and before that led operations and engineering groups in the Israeli Defense Force's central intelligence unit.

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