Bull signs Liverpool Uni alliance

Data Centre

by Jason Stamper| 07 January 2013

For high performance computing (HPC) cluster

Bull Information Systems has signed what it calls a strategic alliance deal, valued at around £800,000, with the University of Liverpool.

Under the terms of the deal, which incorporates a five year partnership and support agreement, Bull will implement an integrated 40 Teraflop HPC system for the University based around its own 'bullx' blade hardware and bullx supercomputer software suite.

The University of Liverpool says it has established a significant group of HPC users who increasingly rely on access to a centrally housed cluster resource. The current clusters have reached 'end of life'. At the same time, it has a longer-term goal to ensure that the quality and profile of HPC-based research it is undertaking is well-served by the investment made.

The University's decision to choose Bull for this project was based partly on breadth of HPC expertise (Bull employs 600 HPC professionals in Europe) and partly on Bull's independent approach, Bull claimed.

Bull noted that it builds and designs all of its own HPC solutions and delivers these directly to the customer.

According to Cliff Addison, manager of Advanced Research Computing, University of Liverpool, "Bull was attractive to us because it could provide us not only with high-quality HPC solutions but critically also access to extensive expertise and new thinking in HPC; ongoing guidance in implementing and running the solutions and the ability to test out the latest technologies at its industry-leading benchmarking facility.

"In addition, we were impressed with Bull's understanding of the academic community and its dedication to helping further the university's research objectives," Addison continues. "We also liked Bull's specific knowledge of and commitment to open source software and its willingness to contribute proactively to the engagement process. All of this together adds significant value to the equipment solution Bull provides.

Andrew Carr, CEO Bull UK & Ireland, said, "The world's leading economies are increasingly recognising the importance of high-performance computing in driving faster, more efficient design and ultimately competitive edge. European governments, businesses, centres of research and academia like the University of Liverpool are increasingly catching up with their counterparts in the US in this respect. Bull is proud to be in the vanguard of this new focus on HPC excellence."

The latest systems are built on Intel's new 'Sandy Bridge' processor. All of the main compute blades in the Bull implementation are concentrated into a pair of water cooled racks thereby minimising space and cooling infrastructure demands.

The in-built Infiniband fabric is said to allow for rapid data transfer and support high levels of throughput and scalability.

Last week Bull announced it is strengthening its UK management team.

In its latest financial statement just over 57% of its business came from its native France, 29% in the rest of Europe, 5.7% in the Americas and 8.6% rest of world. It made 1.3bn euros in 2011 and 616.7m euros in its first half of 2012. First half revenue grew 0.7% year-on-year.

 

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