SGI Introduces Next-Generation ICE X Scale-out Bladed HPC Cluster

The World’s Fastest Supercomputer Just Got Faster


FREMONT, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — November 14, 2011SGI (NASDAQ: SGI), the trusted leader in technical computing, today announced the introduction of SGI® ICE X, the next-generation of the award-winning ICE scale-out high performance computing (HPC) blade server product line. With this product introduction SGI expands its ability to deploy multi-petascale supercomputer solutions on a platform that can be upgraded without any production downtime, potentially saving millions of core hours in the process.

SGI ICE X easily meets the needs of the world's most demanding supercomputing deployments. Its design is optimized for technical computing with integrated InfiniBand® switch blades for outstanding throughput, performance and reliability. The system’s innovative blade design makes it easy and affordable to move to petascale computing and beyond with its integrated single- or dual-plane FDR InfiniBand backplane interconnect. SGI ICE X supports hypercube, enhanced hypercube, all-to-all and fat-tree topologies, enabling each deployment to meet the customer’s specific needs. The system’s open x86 architecture simplifies deployment of commercial, open source or custom applications without any changes on completely unmodified SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server or Red Hat® Enterprise Linux operating systems. The ICE platform is also capable of economically scaling from a half-rack to hundreds of racks.

“ICE X represents the next generation of our market-proven high performance computing platform,” said Praveen K. Mandal, senior vice president of engineering at SGI. “This is our first fully choreographed engineering cycle for the new SGI with Intel, bringing Intel’s next generation Romley architecture to market. We expect to extend our share in the large-scale cluster market significantly with the new SGI ICE X, as it is designed for scale, speed and density.”

SGI ICE X contains significant enhancements over prior ICE generations, including new cooling options at the node level and a higher density form factor through unique blade design, supporting up to 2,304 processor cores per rack. The ICE X system also supports independently scalable power at the enclosure level, along with Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) 56Gb/second InfiniBand support, including options for single-port, dual-port, and dual single-port Mellanox® ConnectX®-3 InfiniBand HCA mezzanine cards.

“Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute ( have worked together for over 20 years on high performance computing systems for research and numerical weather prediction,” said Roar Skalin, Director of Information Technology at the "With the newest SGI ICE X, the compute resources available for our numerical weather prediction will increase by a factor of 20 without increasing space in the data center.”

“HPC customers require constant innovation and cutting edge technology to perform increasingly complex and data intensive computations,” said Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of Technical Computing at Intel. “SGI’s ICE X leverages the performance of the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family together with engineering innovations like the new blade design to deliver on the needs of leading customers. Intel has worked closely together with SGI to enable a product that delivers on energy efficient performance and density, and we are excited to see this product in the market.”

Performance Leadership

SGI ICE X represents the fifth generation of the ICE platform. This platform maintains a world record benchmark for SPECmpiL_2007, with a result of 51.3 for the SGI ICE 8400. This surpassed the previous record of 43.3 set by the SGI ICE 8200, and is a testament to the efficiency and scalability of the platform. ICE is also the world’s fastest compute-only cluster platform for computational fluid dynamics, achieving record results for SGI OpenFOAM® software.

“We are pleased to collaborate with SGI on delivering a leading performance solution that addresses the ever-growing compute needs of their customers,” said Eyal Waldman, chairman, president and CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “Leveraging the I/O performance, scalability and efficiency benefits of Mellanox’s FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand solutions, SGI ICE X provides researchers and scientists with unprecedented computation capabilities for their most demanding workloads.”

Fully Integrated Environment

SGI's comprehensive management and performance software stack is available on all SGI ICE X models for a consistent user experience, including SGI Performance Suite and SGI Management Suite, in addition to a choice of either SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating systems. SGI® InfiniteStorage systems enable a broad range of storage alternatives for high performance file-level and block-level access. With years of experience providing Lustre® support and integration with SGI DMF™ Storage Tier Virtualization, and also a choice of best-of-breed storage platforms such as the SGI IS5000 and IS5500, SGI delivers cost effective options for tightly coupled compute and storage environments.

One Unified Blade Enclosure Model

SGI ICE X hardware architecture is based on a rack-level design comprised of two unified blade enclosure pairs per rack, with up to 36 single- or twin-node compute blades per enclosure pair. The two switch blade choices within the enclosure pair are:

  • Standard: Single 36 port FDR InfiniBand ASIC with 18 ports external for high-value scaling
  • Premium: Dual 36 port FDR InfiniBand ASIC with 48 ports external for maximum scalability and performance

Two Compute Blade Models

Blade models include the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, and multiple differentiated FDR networking options:

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