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Alta Technology Introduces Modular Rack Mountable Linux Cluster Systems

Jan 05, 1999, 12:12 (0 Talkback[s])
Contact: Clark Roundy
Director, Marketing and Sales
Alta Technology Corporation
801-562-1010 ext. 23

Alta Technology Introduces Modular Rack Mountable Linux Cluster Systems

Scalable M-Cluster[tm] Systems Implement Alpha and Pentium II Microprocessor Technology

Sandy, Utah - January 5, 1999 - Alta Technology Corporation, a leading provider of high performance computing solutions, today announced the availability the M-Cluster[tm], a compact and fully modular Linux-based clustered computing system.

Targeted for use in high performance and complex data processing/analysis applications, the M-Cluster uses rack mountable single board computer (SBC) and peripheral modules. This allows for an easy to maintain design that is also extremely durable and significantly more compact than other available clustering options. Systems are scalable from one to 1000's of processing nodes.

"M-Cluster systems are a unique and powerful alternative to current clustered system designs," said Glen Lowry, President and CEO of Alta Technology. "They are a sophisticated, high density option to conventional clustered technology."

Although unique in design and packaging, the M-Cluster uses standard PCI silicon to enable the use of commercially available software and development tools. M-Clusters are fully integrated with the Linux operating system-which implements Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) and Message Passing Interface (MPI) technology-facilitating the creation of a scalable, high performance architecture capable of very efficient parallel processing. Parallel processing refers to the concept of speeding-up the execution of a program by dividing the program into multiple fragments that can execute simultaneously, each on its own processor.

High level parallel languages-like High Performance Fortran (HPF)-are used to program many parallel compute applications.

Lowry continues, "Applications such as scientific computing, simulation, research, geometric modeling, numerical analysis, or virtually any application requiring large capacity computing resources can benefit from M-Cluster technology."

Depending on the application, the design of the network can be very important to the performance of a clustered computer system. The M-Cluster system implements Fast Ethernet as the standard form of connectivity. For applications in which networking tends to be the system bottleneck, M-Cluster connectivity options include Alta's Gigabit Ethernet (PMC/GNIC2[tm]) and Myrinet from Myricom Inc.

M-Cluster systems implement both 64-bit Alpha and 32-bit Pentium II processor technology. The Alpha, from Compaq, is currently available in M-Cluster systems with clock speeds of up to 500 MHz. Pentium II processor versions will be available by 2nd quarter of 1999.

Each M-Cluster compute node comes complete with up to 1024 MB of memory, a 4 GB EIDE hard disk drive, and 10/100 Ethernet connectivity. A unique feature of the M-Cluster is the Alta Cluster Environment (ACE), which helps maximize system reliability and minimize downtime. ACE provides features such as power sequencing, temperature monitoring of individual processors, remote reset of nodes, disk cloning, and various other system management resources.

M-Cluster systems are available now with prices starting well under $20,000.

Founded in 1989 to develop specialized and custom board-level products, Alta Technology Corporation has evolved into a leading supplier of off the shelf parallel and embedded real-time computation products and services. Customer applications range from high-speed telecommunications and networking to data acquisition, signal/image processing and machine control. Alta specializes in high performance computing with a broad product portfolio that includes Single Board Computers, 3D Graphics cards, Gigabit Ethernet adapters, and Scalable Systems. In addition to M-Cluster systems, products from Alta include AltaCluster systems, CompactPCI board-level products, PCI peripheral boards, and PCI Mezzanine Cards (PMC).

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M-Cluster is a trademark of Alta Technology Corporation. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other product names are either trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.