Linux specialist Penguin releases first blade

Penguin Computing, which specializes in servers designed for Linux clustering and high performance computing, is bringing its expertise to the blade market and on Wednesday introduced BladeRunner.

The dense BladeRunner product is aimed at giving users more density and power for data center consolidation and clustering at a lower price. Twelve dual-processor blades can fit into the BladeRunner's 4U chassis. By contrast, Hewlett-Packard's blade chassis is 6U and holds 16 of HP's densest blades, the BL30p.

The BladeRunner compute nodes are available with up to two of Intel's low-power 2.4 gigahertz Xeon processors and include integrated switching for network connectivity, says Mark Walker, Penguin's vice president of product marketing.

Users can buy BladeRunner with Scyld Beowulf clustering software for an easy to deploy entry-level "cluster in a box."

"The whole idea is to make clustering easy," says Walker. "To make it ready to go. It comes prepackaged with manageability features in both the hardware and the clustering software. It's easy to install, easy to manage, easy to maintain. You can manage the whole cluster as a single node."

Penguin is smart to jump into the blade market as more enterprise users look to move workloads onto Linux platforms, primarily on blade servers, analysts say. Linux comes prepackaged on about half of all blade servers shipped worldwide, according to IDC. By contrast, Linux can be found on just 20 percent of rack-optimized servers and 11 percent of stand-alone servers.

A BladeRunner "cluster in a box" with one master node and five compute nodes is priced at under US$25,000. A full chassis, with one master node and 11 compute nodes is about US$42,000.

BladeRunner systems are available today.

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