World’s First Flash based Supercomputer Unveiled – Uses 1024 Intel 710 SSDs for record 36 Million IOPS

The world’s first flash based supercomputer has been unveiled at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Named “Gordon” (i.e. Flash Gordon), the new super computer is a towering display of how SSD technology (Solid State Drive Technology) is empowering not only the consumer devices, but in enterprise machines as well.

As said above, the Gordon Supercomputer is a flag bearer in using SSDs in place of traditional hard disks. Which is a big change, as supercomputers have traditionally relied upon truck loads of hard disk drives to handle their data storage and access.

Have a look at the feats of Gordon:

Gordon can access data faster than any other computer created or currently present.

Gordon is an incredible 9 times faster than the previous supercomputer world record holder.

Gordon is capable of 36,000,000 or thirty six million or 360 Lakh IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second).

What makes Flash Gordon that fast:

Gordon manages to attain those types of speeds by using 1,024 Intel 710 SSD drives, packing cumulatively a whopping 300TB of Intel eMLC flash. There are also 1,024 dual-socket nodes, each with Intel's new 22nm Sandy Bridge Xeon E5 CPUs, and also 64GB of DDR3 memory for each of these nodes.

The kind of architecture lends itself to some extreme performance, with performance measured at 280 Teraflops (one trillion floating point operations per second).

But in this regard, Flash Gordon has not exactly the fastest computational speed from a supercomputer.

Gordon ranks in at #48 in the top 500 in that regard.

What is the USP of Flash Gordon:

As already said, Gordon has not exactly the fastest computational speed from a supercomputer. The USP (unique Selling Point) of it is the I/O speed that it is capable of.

To get an idea of this, Flash Gordon is fast enough to download 220 full length HD movies per second (if one HD movie is 1 GB or 1000 MB in size, then Gordon can download 220 GB of data in One second. So if you have a 500 GB hard disk, then all its data can be downloaded in just 2 seconds).

For just plain data storage, the supercomputer packs 4 Petabytes (Peta means 5) of hard disk drives, so there should be plenty of room for all of the data imaginable. For instance, that much storage can store that much MP3 music which will take you 7600 years to listen to.

There is also 64 Terabytes of DDR3 RAM under for the same purposes you have RAM in your PC – to get things running.

But Gordon is not a humongous storage chest; its real brilliance is its ability to access that data fast enough so that it can be analyzed and ‘mined’ efficiently.

Gordon highlights a Big shift with the way creators and businesses look Supercomputers now:

This type solid state drive use highlights present day shift in supercomputing and data storage. The focus is on storing vast amounts of data and is accomplished merely by scaling hard disk drive or tape storage. A kind of storage capable enough to store three copies of every single movie in the Netflix library, and still have space for roughly a quarter of a million more movies. --------

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