back to article Frontiersman Cray snags $50m storage contract for 'largest single filesystem'

Cray has won a $50m-plus contract to provide 1 exabyte of ClusterStor storage for Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Frontier exascale supercomputer in the United States. Frontier is a $600m-plus Cray-AMD exascale system, rated at up to 1.5 exaFLOPS, due to be delivered in 2021 with acceptance in 2022. It will be a follow- …

  1. romandog

    I remember when...

    The VAX 11/780 was the hot machine at One MIPS. It's time to retire me.

    1. MJB7

      Re: I remember when...

      The Vax 11/780 was *never* competing at this sort of level. The Vax was a significant bump in the performance that a small firm could afford, but it was never a supercomputer

      The Cray-1 came out just before the Vax 11/780. The Cray could do about 130 MFlops.

      (Conveniently that is almost exactly one tenth the performance of Raspberry Pi model B - but of course a Pi doesn't come with a seat.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I remember when...

      Oak Ridge has obviously gone downhill since Feynman did an assessment of the risk of a low level nuclear accident caused by faulty methods of uranium storage as part of the Manhattan Project - just using pencil, paper and slide rule. Something well under 1 flop.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    HPE is buying Cray for $1.3bn

    So how much will Cray be worth in a couple of years after a write down when HPE has decided that it paid too much ?

    1. Steve K

      Re: HPE is buying Cray for $1.3bn

      Maybe someone senior has actually digested the due diligence this time?

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: HPE is buying Cray for $1.3bn

        At least they can be certain that Cray are selling hardware

      2. Fatman

        Re: HPE is buying Cray for $1.3bn

        <quote>Maybe someone senior has actually digested the due diligence this time?</quote>

        Doubtful. After all, its HP.

  3. Scott Broukell

    Errm . . . won't they need to acquire two of these beasts, I mean how else do you make sure that you can do a full backup/restore ? (just asking for a friend who has been out buying large quantaties of floppy disks recently)

    1. sal II

      I have heard that cloud backup is all the rage these days :)

  4. Richard Boyce

    I like it...

    but I think I'll wait until there's a buy one, get one free offer.

  5. Naselus

    If HPE is involved

    Then I believe the correct spelling is 'shyster'.

  6. TonyWilk

    Cloud backup would come to the rescue...

    If my math holds, you could restore 1 exabyte down a 400GBPS link in a mere 8 months !

  7. Bitsminer Silver badge


    About $50 per GiB?

    Coincidentally a Panansas advert on the same page offers 1PB for $0.15M or $150/GiB.

    1. JCWCVG

      Re: Underpriced

      My math says $50 per TB not per GB. $50,000,000 for 1 EB = 1000 PB = 1,000,000 TB

      1. JacobZ

        Re: Underpriced

        That's assuming they are using the formal definition of EB as decimal quantities. If they are using the technically incorrect but widely adopted practice of using EB, PB and TB as binary quantities then 1 EB = 1024 PB etc. Once you get up to PBs and EBs it starts to make a material difference...

        There was a court case in the US some years ago regarding consumer storage that established that when the packaging said "MB", buyers had a reasonable expectation that this meant 1024 GBs (and so on down).

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Will HPE have fired the engineers before they've managed to deliver it?

  9. StargateSg7

    Am I missing something? You are SURE it's only ONE EXABYTE (One Thousand PetaBytes?)

    That isn't actually all that large .... The LARGEST actual datacentre is the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center located at a U.S. Military base called Camp Williams near Bluffdale, Utah which is which is at the Lat/Long Degrees:Minutes:Seconds GPS coordinates of:

    40°25'34.5"N 111°56'02.8"W

    or when using Decimal Degrees GPS coordinates of:

    40.426237, -111.934118

    I actually remember from my contacts at IBM and Hitachi, that it was ZettaBytes of disk space that were ordered from multiple vendors!

    That is MANY THOUSANDS of ExaBytes!

    And based upon the PHYSICAL SIZE of the NSA data centre buildings and the size of 3.5 inch Enterprise-class drives, ZettaBytes is PROBABLY the more correct number of bytes of actual data stored by the NSA for both SHORT-TERM USE (6 months and less) and for longer-term use (Years and Decades) multi-path and multi-target correlation-oriented data mining!

    I've got MULTIPLE ExaBytes of Tape Archive data in a room barely the size of a typical Mom and Pop Retail store! And that is just at my normal daily rendering facility! Yeah! That ONE mere ExaByte can't be right! I have that right next door to my office! For Oak Ridge National Lab, which is a MAJOR FEDERAL-level RESEARCH LABORATORY in the USA, a mere ExaByte is just toy storage! That must have been a misprint! It should be in the Zettabytes range for disk cluster storage......

    OR ... maybe I'm just jaded (Yada Yada Yada! or Meh!) cuz of all the fancy custom-built compute and storage gear I've got here and that one exabyte is just a Meh! data storage size unit!




    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      "File system" not "total aggregate"

      They may have that much in -total- storage, they aren't partitioning it as one big virtual volume like what ORNL is doing.

      The point of this storage is to keep a single data set while it is being digested by the supercomputer, they may even have it set as a single contiguous mount point / partition. The intelligence services are going to break their storage into small chunks, one for each data set they are working with.

      1. jabuzz

        Re: "File system" not "total aggregate"

        Yeah a 1EB Lustre file system, how long do they expect that to last before it eats itself. While Lustre has fsck tools they basically take forever in my experience to the point that even on a 150TB file system they are unusable, and Lustre would basically develop corruption about once a year for no apparent reason.

        1. Thommy M.

          Re: "File system" not "total aggregate"

          With ZFS in the base there's no need for fsck I assume, or?

  10. Crazy Operations Guy

    HP entering the supercomputer market, again

    This would be, what, the third, forth time they've done that? Seems like every time they buy a supercomputer company, they just kinda sit on it, let it rot, and then mercy kill the product line. Then they'll buy a new HPC company, then do the same.

  11. stiine Silver badge

    So, how may Y/MPs is this equal? At least the X and Y/MP's had a bench where a weary admin could rest, but only if wearing a jacket...

    1. TimTheEngineer

      1.5 exaflops ? 1.5 x 10^18 flops.

      Assuming we are treating these as real and equivalent numbers (hardly), doing the simple numbers

      A Y-MP was a little over 2GFLOP - let's pretend 2.3 x10^9 FLOP for want of a better number.

      I make that about 650 x 10^6 Y-MPs...

  12. CFtheNonPartisan

    Supercomputer Shmoopercomputer. These are almost a joke because there is only so much parallelism in the universe of modelling. To quote an old colleague, I can vectorize the code (problem) to 99%, I can parallelize the code to 99%, but I cannot do both at the same time so all those processors and GPUs reflect prurient interests for the buyers and sellers, and serious challenges for the users.

    Conclusion, these so-called supercomputers are essentially big, fancy time sharing systems where the application could be equally served by smaller systems, and the workload by a number of smaller systems. As for the huge file system(s)? Where is my data, how did it get there, and how do I get it back - need another few thousand processors for that :D ?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like