Airbus Buys Supercomputers In HP PODs

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Airbus has doubled its high-performance computing power with HP’s container-based data centres

Aircraft maker Airbus, is using two of HP’s pre-configured container-based data centres for supercomputing.

Airbus has effectively doubled its high-performance computing (HPC) power with the HP PODs (Performance Optimised Data centers), which were delivered to Airbus sites in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany.

Modular Approach

HP joined the modular data centre approach five years ago when it first began making its PODs. In October last year it announced it was creating specialised manufacturing facilities to build its PODs in both Europe and America, because of a major increase in its containerised data centre business.

Containerised data centres have been touted as a solution where people need temporary capacity, or in environments where there are no suitable buildings or time to build a permanent data centre. However, HP believes PODs can have wider applications, as they can be more energy efficient than most traditional data centres, with a PUE of 1.2, and can be assembled in weeks instead of months, and then shipped to wherever they are required.

HP meanwhile said this Airbus deal makes it the world’s largest industrial HPC system and one of the first confirmed commercial HPC container contracts. And according to the official TOP500 Supercomputer list, the Airbus deployment is now the 29th biggest computer in the world.

Energy Efficient

Essentially each POD contains all the elements a traditional data centre, using HP’s converged infrastructure. Indeed, HP said that a total of 2,016 clustered HP ProLiant BL280 G6 blade servers enable the two 12 meter-long containers to deliver the equivalent of nearly 1,000 square meters of conventional data centre space.

HP also said that its water-cooled HP PODs consume up to 40 percent less power compared to an installation in a nearby customer data centre.

This is because in June HP unveiled an even greener POD, which HP officials called the “EcoPOD”. The so called EcoPOD can be deployed in 12 weeks, costs 75 percent less to build, and apparently cuts energy costs by 95 percent.

Meanwhile HP continues to invest heavily in its data centre capabilities.

In February it extended its data centre design and planning expertise, to include the actual construction of the facility. HP said the service will streamline the process of building data centres and give enterprises one place to go for the entire process.

Prior to that it began offering a data centre education system last year with a training programme  that included networking, storage, servers and software elements.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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