back to article HP parks Airbus supers in containers

Airbus is one of the first industrial HPC customers in the world to plunk its most recent supercomputers into containerized data centers. Hewlett-Packard inked a supercomputing upgrade deal with the aircraft manufacturer four years ago, and in the final phase of the contract earlier this year, HP put two of its Performance …


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  1. owlstead

    One of the first?

    They are one of the first, after Google and Sun (now Oracle), who had prototypes as of 2005/2006. Oracle still seems to deliver these - or at least in 2010, but only on request (I can imagine it is a bit expensive to keep stock for such a thing). In other words, they are slightly late to the party.

    1. Mark Cathcart

      and IBM and Dell DCS...

  2. Fenwick

    1600 km apart

    Did you mean that each pod has 24192 cores. If so then the top 500 benchmark was done with only one pod and Airbus has two computers that would come in at 29th in the list.

    1. ToddRundgren

      Top500 who cares

      Bloody hell, lets design a completely pointless HPC benchmark, which doesn't test anything other than CPU horesepower, then convince every gimp HPC vendor to play the Top500 game.

      Thanks Jack Dongarra

      1. John Brookes

        Deep breath, Todd, deep breath

        Firstly, when HPL was designed, it wasn't pointless. It was pretty much the only portable benchmark that tested the capability of contemporary supercomputers to run an important class of problems.

        Secondly, it's still not pointless, unless CPU speed has suddenly become irrelevent.

        Thirdly, it's an excellent sanity check when throwing a cluster together:

        - HPL efficiency a bit low? Hmm, let's run some interconnect tests

        - Good check for excessive single-bit errors? Run HPL cluster-wide, as big as will fit on each system and see what gets reported.

        Fourthly, EVERYONE knows the list is primarily used for business/marketing/dick-waving purposes. So? "Is vendor X's response to our RFQ any good?" "Yes, but they haven't built a machine on this scale since 2009." or "Yes, and I can see from the Top500 that they've got many machines in our sector at the scale we're looking." or.....

        Fifthly, Jack Dongarra (et al) are perfectly aware that HPL isn't the be-all and end-all of benchmarking. That's why HPCC exists (and JD is the chair of its pretty stellar committee). Oh yes, and HPL is part of that improved benchmarking suite.

        Sixthly, all benchmarks that aren't your application are - to a greater, or lesser degree - pointless. So let's not benchmark anything, eh?

        Still, I'm sure your achievements dwarf those of Prof Dongarra....

        1. ToddRundgren

          You said Dick waving


          Good points, apart from the fact Top500 is for Dick waving. Oh and how is Linpack a good test for interconnects when its a CPU test?

          1. John Brookes

            Not a GOOD test.....

   easy test.

            How can I say that?

            1) Go to

            2) go to a list - any of them

            3) go to the statistics for that list

            4) view the stats by interconnect/interconnect family

            Basically, you can set a reasonably accurate lower bound on HPL efficiency for your particular arch/interconnect/topo pretty easily. Run it, see what you get, compare and contrast....

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Psssst Wanna buy a supercomuter?

    40ft Container! All the more easy to steal then.

  4. This is my handle

    Now, if only Airbus had a reliable way to ship them

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I wonder about that.

      Maybe air-freight shipped via A-320's (or whatever) wouldn't be guaranteed.

    2. Volker Hett

      Re: Now, if only Airbus had a reliable way to ship them

      Airbus took advice from Lewis Page and ordered a Boeing 747-8 freighter which is cheaper, more reliable, easier to maintain and has bigger capacity than whatever Airbus can build, As soon as it's delivered they'll ship ...

  5. TeeCee Gold badge

    Cramming people into small spaces.

    Sorry, but Airbus are mere amateurs here. The real experts in this field are Boeing (737) and Virgin Cityflier Express.

    Sardines would complain about the seat pitch on those bloody things. Even Ryanair haven't got the brass neck to go to that level of passenger density.

  6. dannyk96

    As a mater of fact, we all do HPC clusters in Shipping containers, my employer Bull included.

    Customers do worry about security - so has anyone yet come up with a huge chain and padlock to stop the scroats simply walking off with in from the car park?

    1. John Brookes

      "Oi, mistah - giz firty quids...."

      "' I'll make sure yer container's ere when youse get back...."

      Just like matchday parking ;-)

  7. RobinP

    Growing market

    I can see many HE institutions going down this route. I wonder how insurance companies will deal with it? Especially in major cities.

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