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LinuxHPC: Jason Pettit, SGI Altix Product Manager, Interviewed

Feb 24, 2004, 09:15 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ken Farmer, David Kanter)

[ Thanks to Ken Farmer for this link. ]

"LinuxHPC: What is the architecture of the Altix systems, and were any additional components used in the NASA installation?

"Jason: The SGI Altix 3000 server uses a near-uniform memory access architecture first introduced by SGI in 1997 in the Origin 2000 server which utilized the 64-bit MIPS processor and SGI's UNIX based IRIX operating system. SGI updated this architecture again in the year 2000 when we introduced the Origin 3000 servers which deploy a modular 'brick' based architecture that allows users to add memory, processors, and additional system I/O independently, enabling flexibility to build systems that fit their applications needs exactly. Recently in 2003 SGI introduced the SGI Altix 3000 which updated this well-proven architecture by offering the Intel Itanium 2 processor and scalable production ready Linux. Both the SGI Origin and SGI Altix systems are built around our memory channel interconnect called NUMAlink, which creates a flexible switch based fabric, which acts as the systems backplane, and is made up of routers and cables. Each NUMAlink 3 connection has an aggregate bi-directional bandwidth of 3.2GB/second. This fabric of routers and cables allow SGI Altix 3000 hardware to be configured up to 512 processors and 8 Terabytes of cache-coherent memory today. This capability in part of the standard system design so no special hardware was required for the NASA system..."

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