High Performance Computing Advancements

High Performance Computing Advancements

Anyone who thinks PCs when the company name Dell comes up (“Hey, Dude, You’re getting a Dell.”) has missed the company’s growth over the past decade. I’ve written about its new foray into Internet of Things with a product specifically targeted at manufacturing industries. The company has announced some advances in its High Performance Computing platform.

High Performance Computing

These advances include innovative new systems designed to simplify mainstream adoption of HPC and data analytics in research, manufacturing and genomics. Dell also unveiled expansions to its HPC Innovation Lab and showcased next-generation technologies including the Intel Omni-Path Fabric.

HPC is becoming increasingly critical to how organizations of all sizes innovate and compete. Many organizations lack the in-house expertise to configure, build and deploy an HPC system without losing focus on their core science, engineering and analytic missions. As an example, according to the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, 98 percent of all products will be designed digitally by 2020, yet 95 percent of the center’s 300,000 manufacturing companies have little or no HPC expertise.

“HPC is no longer a tool only for the most sophisticated researchers. We’re taking what we’ve learned from working with some of the most advanced, sophisticated universities and research institutions and customizing that for delivery to mainstream enterprises,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell. “As the leading provider of systems in this space, Dell continues to break down barriers and democratize HPC. We’re seeing customers in even more industry verticals embrace its power.”

Accelerating Mainstream Adoption

Dell HPC System Portfolio, a family of HPC and data analytics solutions, combines the flexibility of custom systems with the simplicity, reliability and value of a preconfigured, factory-built system that includes:

  • Simplified design, configuration, and ordering in a matter of hours instead of weeks;
  • Domain-specific design that’s designed and tuned by Dell engineers and domain experts for specific science, engineering and analytics workloads using flexible industry-standard building blocks; and,
  • Fully tested and validated systems by Dell engineering with a single point of hardware support and a wide range of additional service options.

New application-specific Dell HPC System Portfolio offerings include:

  • Dell HPC System for Genomic Data Analysis is designed to meet the needs of genomic research organizations to enable cost-effective bioinformatics centers delivering results and identifying treatments in clinically relevant timeframes while maintaining compliance and protecting confidential data. The platform is a result of key learnings from Dell’s relationship with Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to help clinical researchers and doctors expand the reach and impact of the world’s first Food and Drug Administration-approved precision medicine trial for pediatric cancer. TGen has been able to improve outcomes for more patients by creating targeted treatments at least one week faster than they could be accomplished previously.
  • Dell HPC System for Manufacturing is designed for customers running complex manufacturing design simulations using workstations, clusters or both. Applicable use cases include Finite Element Analysis for structural analysis using ANSYS Mechanical & Computational Fluid Dynamics for predicting fluid behavior in designs utilizing ANSYS Fluent or CD-adapco STAR-CCM+.
  • Dell HPC System for Research is designed as a foundation, or reference architecture, for baseline research systems and numerous applications involving complex scientific analysis. This standard cluster configuration can be used as a starting point for Dell’s customers and systems engineers to quickly develop research systems that match the unique needs of research customers requiring systems for a wide variety of research agendas.

Accelerating HPC Technology Innovation and Partnerships

Dell announced a new expansion of its Dell HPC Innovation Lab in cooperation with Intel specifically for support of its Intel Scalable System Framework. This multi-million dollar expansion to the Austin, Texas, facility includes additional domain expertise, infrastructure and technologists. The lab is designed to unlock the capabilities and commercialize the benefits of advanced processing, network and storage technologies as well as enable open standards across the industry.

Beyond becoming the first major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to join the Intel Fabric Builders program, Dell is working closely with Intel to support its Intel Scalable System Framework, which includesIntel Omni-Path Fabric technology, next-generation Intel Xeon processors, the Intel Xeon Phi processor family, and the Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre. Announcements include:

  • New Dell Networking H-Series switches and adapters for PowerEdge servers featuring the Intel Omni-Path Architecture. These provide a next-generation fabric technology designed for HPC deployments. The architecture includes advanced features such as traffic flow optimization, packet integrity protection and dynamic lane scaling allowing for finer-grained control on the fabric level to enable high resiliency, high performance and optimized traffic movement.
  • Dell and Intel support for the Linux Foundation’s OpenHPC community. The community is designed to provide a common platform on which end-users can collaborate and innovate to simplify the complexity of installation, configuration and ongoing maintenance of implementing a custom software stack and easing a path to exascale.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Dell to bring advanced systems to market early next year using the Intel Scalable System Framework,” said Charles Wuischpard, vice president and general manager of HPC Platform Group at Intel. “Dell’s position as our largest and fastest-growing customer for Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre, their work on Omni-Path Architecture and next-generation Intel Xeon Phi, and their initiatives to expand the Dell Innovation Lab demonstrate their commitment to rapidly expanding the ecosystem for HPC.”

Mellanox Partnership

Dell and Mellanox announced additional investment in Dell’s existing HPC Innovation Lab to provide an end-to-end EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand supercomputer system. The system is designed to showcase extreme scalability by leveraging the offloading capabilities and advanced acceleration engines of the Mellanox interconnect as well as provide application specific benchmarking, and characterizations for customers and partners.

“With this new investment, Dell’s HPC Innovation Lab will now enable new levels of applications efficiency and innovative research capabilities. Together we will help build the solutions of the future,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing, Mellanox Technologies.


  • The Dell HPC System for Genomic Data Analysis is available today.
  • The Dell HPC Systems for Manufacturing and Research will be available in early 2016.
  • The Dell Networking H-series switches, adapters and software based on the Intel Omni-Path Architecture will be available in the first half of 2016.

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