Cineca, Italy´s Largest Computing Center, Expands Research and Accelerates Projects With Cisco and IBM High-Performance Computing

Cisco High-Performance Computing InfiniBand and Ethernet Networks and the IBM System Cluster 1350 Lowers Costs, Improves Systems and Halves ROI Period

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Research projects that impact peoples´ lives, such as predictions of volcanic eruptions or the development of new medicines and treatment, could soon be completed faster and at a lower cost.

Italian universities and research organizations that use Cineca, the largest computing center in Italy and one of the largest in world, will benefit from the recent deployment of high-performance computing (HPC) technologies from Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO) and IBM (NYSE: IBM). HPC will help researchers accelerate projects, make better investment decisions, and reduce research and development costs. For example, projects such as forecasting the odds that Mount Vesuvius will erupt would have been impossible or far too expensive to achieve, due to the huge computing power required. Cineca also believes that the Cisco and IBM technologies will help it cut its return-on-investment period by almost 50 percent, from three years to just 18 months.

Cineca has deployed Cisco HPC InfiniBand and Ethernet networks for the HPC cluster and as part of an IBM System Cluster 1350 solution, which includes more than 1,200 BladeCenter servers. The solution provides 10-gigabit InfiniBand connectivity with support for more than half a petabyte of data and will allow customers (including 65 Italian universities and leading research and government organizations) to cut costs and time necessary for scientific, medical and geophysical development.

"As one of Europe´s leading computing centers, demand for our high-performance computing services and facilities to support vital research and development projects is increasing all the time. Soon we expect to exceed 1 petabyte of data," said Sanzio Bassini, director of Cineca´s System and Technology Department. "The impact of deploying technology from Cisco and IBM to improve the cost, quality and capacity of services we can offer our customers is very significant. Projects such as assessing and improving risk management if Mount Vesuvius erupts, or developing a new generation in molecular dynamics, would not have been possible before deploying the Cisco and IBM System Cluster 1350 solution. The collaboration with Cisco and IBM will also increase knowledge transfer to help Cineca achieve its mission to provide customers with the most advanced services and solutions and to help them innovate."

The Cisco HPC solution, comprising InfiniBand and Ethernet networks and a storage area network, supports five main computer systems and has enabled Cineca to develop a layered campus network architecture. This includes Cisco Ethernet and InfiniBand switch modules for IBM BladeCenter and Cisco SFS 7000 Series InfiniBand Server Switches which provide a low-latency, high-bandwidth HPC cluster solution for interconnecting a cluster´s computing nodes. Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series Switches, Cisco 7600 Series Routers and Cisco MDS 9000 Series Multilayer Switches support a blend of 1-gigabit, 4-gigabit and 10-gigabit network connections.

"Cineca shows how enterprises, governments and academic organizations can use high-performance computer clusters to run HPC applications in order to provide faster ´time to enlightenment´ that can increase an organization´s profitability and competitiveness," said Carlo Mirone, director for the public sector market, Cisco Italy. "The Cisco and IBM integrated HPC solution addresses diverse communications, performance and storage requirements for demanding HPC and grid applications, helping customers to accelerate projects, make better investment decisions and reduce costs."

"By deploying the IBM System Cluster 1350, Cineca has been able to provide its clients with leading technologies for high-performance computing such as blade servers and high-bandwidth networking switches to help push research computing to the next frontier," said Wendy McGee, director, IBM Cluster Solutions. "IBM looks forward to continuing its collaboration with Cisco, offering customers a highly scalable solution for high-performance commercial applications and server consolidation. IBM and Cisco´s innovative clustering technology solutions will help enable customers to reduce time and resources to improve customer service."

About Cineca

Cineca is a consortium of 31 universities plus the CNR (the National Research Council) and the Ministry of University and Research. Cineca is Italy´s largest computing center, is ranked in the top ten in Europe and at number 44 worldwide. It provides a range of HPC computing services for scientific research and development, technology innovation and business application support to around 65 universities in Italy, the Italian government, research institutions and the private sector. Half a million users per month access applications in Cineca´s data center. Located in Bologna, Cineca has 350 employees.

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