Systems vendor Appro targets HPC with Opteron servers

Systems vendor Appro Monday introduced new Opteron-based servers designed to speed processing for high performance computing and computationally intensive business applications.

The 1U and 3U XtremeServers expand the XtremeServer product line Appro launched last year when it introduced is Xtreme Blade. The new XtremeServers are the first to be built on motherboards designed by Appro, which was a contract systems manufacturer for the likes of Cisco and Sun before rolling out its own products for the Linux-based high performance computing market in 2000.

"One differentiation between Appro and other Tier 2 vendors is our background in building for Tier 1 suppliers," says John Lee, director of product marketing at Appro. "We do our own backplane design, our own power supply design, our own chassis design. ... The Xtreme product line is the first where we're also dictating the design and feature sets of the motherboard."

By keeping tight control over the design of the server, Appro is able to provide a high-performing product that is less costly than similar systems from the Tier 1 server vendors, Lee says. A key feature of the new XtremeServers is the modular approach to system memory. Appro designed its motherboard with eight memory slots, double the number usually available. "So our customers can get more memory without buying expensive high gigabyte DIMMs [dual inline memory module]," Lee says.

The Appro 1U XtremeServer includes up to two single- or dual-core Opteron processors and up to 64 gigabytes of memory. In addition, the server supports one 800 gigabyte SATA or one 292 gigabyte SCSI hot-swappable drive and one PCI-X and PCI Express slot. The server is aimed at dense computing workloads, such as financial modeling, compute farms and Web hosting.

The Appro 3U XtremeServer is designed for larger, more compute-intensive applications such as mechanical engineering and digital content creation. It supports up to four single- or dual-core Opteron processors, up to 128 G bytes of memory, up to 2.4 terabyte SATA or 876 gigabyte SCSI hot-swappable drives, up to two PCI-X and two PCI-Express slots and redundant power supplies and fans.

In addition, Appro updated its management software to enable customers to reboot and configure the XtremeServers remotely.

The Appro 1U XtremeServer is available now and is priced starting at US$2,600. The Appro 3U Xtreme Server is expected to begin shipping by year-end and is priced starting at US$15,700.

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