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HP Takes Lead from IBM on TOP500 Supercomputing List

HP BladeSystem dominates list as customer demand for energy-efficient, standards-based solutions catapult it over proprietary IBM offerings

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 17, 2008

For the second consecutive year, the powerful and energy-efficient HP BladeSystem c-Class server has dominated the TOP500 list of the world’s largest supercomputing installations by delivering a flexible architecture that provides customers with measurable cost, space and energy savings.

Including systems built on HP ProLiant architectures, HP now commands a total of 41.8 percent of systems on the TOP500 list, while IBM slipped to 37.6 percent.

HP BladeSystem powers 40.2 percent of the systems on the most recently announced list; this represents more blade installations than all other vendors combined. Versatile, energy-efficient and affordable, HP blade servers provide customers with the maximum density required for high-performance and scale-out computing.

With 201 placements, the number of HP BladeSystem servers on the TOP500 list has increased by 5 percentage points compared to the June 2008 ranking and by 10 percentage points compared to June 2007. The number of high-performance computing (HPC) installations using blade servers on the TOP500 list has increased more than any other single computing architecture. In fact, blade-powered systems are increasingly replacing proprietary systems in the HPC area and legacy mainframe architectures in commercial environments.

“Customers can maximize their high-performance computing investments while increasing energy efficiency with blades, clearly improving their bottom line,” said Christine Martino, vice president and general manager, Scalable Computing and Infrastructure organization, HP. “The continued dominance of HP BladeSystem customers on the TOP500 list demonstrates the growing market demand for industry-standard architectures that address a broader set of computing challenges at a far lower cost than proprietary systems and mainframes.”

Emphasizing the strong momentum of HP blade technology in the market, the HP ProLiant BL2x220c G5 powers several of the most power efficient industry-standard supercomputing clusters, including WETA Digital Ltd. in New Zealand, Cyfronet in Poland and Columbia University in New York City. The BL2x220C G5 delivers up to 260 megaflops-per-watt ratio(1) running the TOP 500 Linpack Benchmark across a single, 32-node enclosure.

This performance benefit, coupled with 14 placements on the TOP500, positions the HP BL2x220c as the leading server blade for customers that need maximum application performance without the additional infrastructure costs.

According to IDC’s worldwide HPC server Qview report, HP is the leading provider of HPC servers with 37 percent of the overall market based on revenue in the second quarter of 2008.(2)

“Over the last several years, we’ve seen an explosive growth of blade servers for a widening range of high-performance computing applications – from digital media creation and online gaming to more traditional HPC applications such as computer-aided design,” said Earl Joseph, program vice president, High-performance Computing, IDC Research. “Previously, customers’ only choice for HPC was a high-end, multi-million dollar supercomputer. Now, blades offer a highly flexible, scalable, lower-budget alternative to the proprietary systems that historically dominated the TOP500 list.”

Top-ranking HP customers

Having recently doubled the size of its supercomputing cluster configuration, Academy Award-winning animation company WETA Digital is now ranked 101-104 on the TOP500 list. The new system consists of four supercomputing clusters and is powered by 1,280 HP BL2x220c server blades, which provide 205 teraflops(3) per second at peak performance.

As a result of the increased application performance and improvements in energy efficiency, WETA Digital has the processing density to produce cutting-edge digital animation faster, while still lowering operations overhead.

“In the world of visual effects, finding technology that is faster and energy-efficient is one of the most influential components to maintaining a competitive edge in this crowded marketplace,” said Paul Ryan, chief technology officer, WETA Digital.

“HP’s new BL2x220c has enabled us to double our processing capacity in the existing physical data center space. As a result, we’ve been able to increase capacity without building out our data center or experiencing additional power consumption costs associated with cooling hundreds of blades,” added Adam Shand, systems team lead, WETA Digital.

Also making a mark on the TOP500 list is India’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). C-DACs “PARAM Cluster” is ranked 69 on the list, with a system powered by 288 HP ProLiant DL580 G5 servers that offer a peak performance of 54 teraflops per second.

About the rankings

The TOP500 ranking of supercomputers is released twice a year by researchers at the Universities of Tennessee and Mannheim, Germany, and at NERSC Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The list ranks supercomputers worldwide based on the Linpack N*N Benchmark, a yardstick of performance that is a reflection of processor speed and scalability.

More information about HP HPC is available at www.hp.com/go/hpc.

Visit HP in booth 1518 at the SC08 supercomputing tradeshow in Austin, Texas, Nov. 17-20, for demonstrations of the company’s HPC offerings.

About HP

HP, the world’s largest technology company, provides printing and personal computing products and IT services, software and solutions that simplify the technology experience for consumers and businesses. HP completed its acquisition of EDS on Aug. 26, 2008. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.


(1) One megaflops equals 1 million floating point operations per second.

(2) IDC Worldwide Technical Server QView, Q2 2008, published September 2008.

(3) One teraflop equals a trillion floating point operations per second.


2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.


Editorial contacts:

Erin Collopy, HP: erin.collopy@hp.com

Fabienne Guildhary, Burson-Marsteller for HP: fabienne.guildhary@bm.com

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