News Archive

San Diego Supercomputer Center Selects First Vendors for 'Triton Resource'

Appro, Myricom, Sun Microsystems Provide Platforms and High-Speed Networking for Intel Nehalem and AMD Shanghai Processors

Published 05/13/2009

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego has selected the first round of vendors for its new Triton Resource, an integrated, data-intensive computing system primarily designed to support UC San Diego and UC researchers. Triton is scheduled to enter production early this summer.

Plans for the new shared resource cluster, data analysis facility, and large-scale storage system were first announced last fall as SDSC formally opened a new building and data center that doubled the size of the existing supercomputer center to 160,000 square feet. Triton was designed collaboratively with University researchers and computing specialists at SDSC.

"The Triton Resource has first and foremost been designed to integrate with the analysis workflows of UC researchers," said Philip Papadopoulos, director of UC Systems at SDSC, and head of the definition and acquisition team for the new system. "The design and evaluation team paid special attention to the movement of data within Triton and ensuring scalable network connectivity to other resources. These companies were selected for their leading edge, energy-efficient systems that met very specific criteria and a unique set of requirements."

The first phase of the Triton Resource was procured through a highly competitive 'request for proposal' process, in which vendors bid for one or more of the system's three major components: a shared resource cluster, large memory cluster, and a high-performance networking fabric. A scalable, parallel file system will be procured through a similar process later this year. The entire system is integrated using the Rocks Cluster Toolkit, developed by researchers at UC San Diego and supported under National Science Foundation grant #OCI-0721623.

The Triton Resource is named after the mythical sea god and his three-pronged trident whose image was adopted by UC San Diego. The new system consists of three main areas/functions, with the following vendors selected:

  • Triton Compute Cluster (TCC): A scalable cluster configured to operate either in a standard batch mode, or be set up so users can run customized software stacks at scale, with full connectivity to large-scale storage. Appro International, Inc., of Milpitas, Calif., and its GreenBlade™ server series, was selected by SDSC for the cluster's computing platform, along with Nehalem processors from Intel Corporation, of Santa Clara, Calif. The TCC has an aggregate of 6TB memory across 256 nodes.
  • Petascale Data Analysis Facility (PDAF): Purpose-built to meet researchers' needs to efficiently process massive data sets, PDAF consists of large-memory (twenty 256GB and eight 512GB) 32-core nodes, coupled to a Lustre parallel file system. Sun Microsystems, Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and its Sun Fire™ X4600 M2 server were selected for this major element of the Triton Resource, along with Shanghai processors from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif. PDAF has an aggregate of 9TB memory across 28 nodes.
  • Data Oasis: A large-scale parallel file system whose final specifications and vendor selection will be announced later this year. Data Oasis is fundamental to the life cycle of data, including storage, management, and preservation, providing facilities for the practical manipulation of data across high-bandwidth paths to researchers throughout UC San Diego and the statewide UC system.

These major resource components are interconnected with a:

  • High-Performance, Low-Latency Fabric: The full bisection Myrinet Fabric and Myricom Dual Protocol Network Interfaces from Myricom, Inc., of Arcadia, Calif., were selected to give the Triton Resource excellent scaling for parallel message passing codes and unprecedented integration with campus, national and international 10Gb/s networks. In addition to the 480 Fabric Ports, the core switch includes 32 10Gb/s Ethernet ports, enabling Triton's nodes to direct high-speed network access to other resources outside SDSC.

Connectivity for the Triton Resource to UC San Diego campus laboratories will be achieved through both production and research (NSF-funded OptIPuter and Quartzite) multi-10 Gigabit networks to allow for unprecedented integration into research laboratories. Connectivity for UC researchers elsewhere will be achieved using a 10 Gigabit Ethernet campus connection to the statewide education network designed and managed by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC).

Additional hardware and software vendors recognized for their technologies and contributions to the Triton Resource include Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., of San Jose, Calif., for supplying fibre channel host bus adapters (HBAs) for the initial parallel file system; SMC Networks of Irvine, Calif., for stackable gigabit Ethernet switches for Triton's management/installation network; The Portland Group, Inc., of Lake Oswego, Ore., for compilers to provide optimized code for both AMD and Intel processors; and Cluster Resources, Inc., of Provo, Utah, for Triton's Moab intelligent policy-based governance and Gold accounting package.

Full details and specifications of SDSC's Triton Resource will be announced starting in summer 2009.

About SDSC
As an organized research unit of UC San Diego, SDSC is a national leader in creating and providing cyberinfrastructure for data-intensive research. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible and integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC recently doubled its size to 160,000 square feet with a new, energy-efficient building and data center extension, and is a founding member of TeraGrid, the nation's largest open-access scientific discovery infrastructure.

About UC San Diego
UC San Diego, one of the ten campuses in the world-renowned University of California system, has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. UC San Diego's graduate and professional schools include Scripps Institution of Oceanography; School of Medicine; School of International Relations and Pacific Studies; Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Jacobs School of Engineering; and Rady School of Management. The campus is also home to the UC San Diego Medical Center; San Diego Supercomputer Center; California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2); Center for Research in Computing and the Arts; Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture, and Archaeology (CISA3); Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies; Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation; and Institute of the Americas.

Media Contacts:
Jan Zverina
SDSC Communications
858 534-5111 or

Warren R. Froelich
SDSC Communications
858 822-3622 or

Related Links

San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC):
UC San Diego:
Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC):