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Photo Album


1993 - Departure from the Deskside Server Computer.

1. IBM 3494 Tape Library and IBM Model 990 Fileserver (1993)

After foundation of the Institute in 1992, the IT-Infrastructure was based primarily on thirty five IBM RS6000 workstations, which formed, what one would call a very loosely coupled cluster today. Provisional computer rooms were set-up as a prerequisite to venture into high performance parallel computing. In 1993 an early eight node IBM Power-1 SP-1 machine with a theoretical peak performance of 1 GFlop/s was delivered together with an IBM Model 990 File server and an IBM 3494 Tape Library, the latter two are shown on the photograph.


In service since 1993 - the IBM 3494 Tape Library.

2. Inside the IBM 3494 Tape Library (1993-2004) 3. The griper of IBM 3494 Tape Library

It is really amazing that this robot is in service for more then 15 years now! It started with two 3490-C2A drives (800 MByte/cartridge) and two storage units in 1993. Today sixteen IBM E05/E06 drives (1.000 GByte/cartridge) and five storage units have been installed giving it a total capacity of about two Petabyte.


1994 to 2000 - a look back into provisional computer rooms hosting the first IBM SP-2 and attached disk storage.

4. IBM SP-2 (1994-2000) 5. One Frame of the IBM SP-2 with nodes

It was clear that the IBM SP-1 had to be upgraded very quick. So in 1994  a 48 node IBM SP-2, which was enhanced to 77 nodes (including 8 x Power-2 SC) later on, had been installed. Nodes used Power-2 processors clocked at 66 MHz. Initially all processors came with 64 MByte memory. This system marked the first official entry into the List of the 500 most powerful computers systems of the world - the 48 node system went on rank 78 in November 1994. This system was decommissioned in 2000.


6. Old Computerroom I with IBM SP-2 (1994-2000) 7. Old Computerroom II with IBM Disk Storage (1994-2000)

Disk storage based on IBM 2 GByte serial link disks and later 4.5 and 9.1 GByte SSA disks attached to the SP-2.


2000 - New computer building & intermediary SP-2


In 2000 the SP-2 as well as our facilities were indeed at their limits.  A new subterranean building had to be constructed adjacent to the main building of the institute to host new computers. After a competitive biding process a new contract was signed between PIK and IBM to deliver a  200 x Power-3 based IBM SP-2  - placed at rank 121 on the June 2001 edition of the Top 500 list. This machine had been upgraded  to a 240 x Power-4 based Cluster later on.


8. New SP-2 in new building A31-A (2000) 9. An all familiar view



January 2003 - Delivery & Installation of the first Teraflop Computer at PIK.

10. Delivery of the IBM p655 Cluster (2003) 11. From the lorry to the lift 12. First Frames arrived at their final destination


13. Switch Frame and fourth Node Frame 14. Unpacking all those Boxes 15. Cabeling the Control Frame 16. Bernhard Zepke (IBM) in Action 17. Two Frames with p655 Nodes (IBM Disksubsystems in the back)


18. Ready to be switched on!

The Power-4 based IBM Cluster with a total of 240 CPU was a big step  - in terms of performance, weight and power uptake. On the Linpack Benchmark a performance of 575 GFlop/s (out of a theoretical peak performance of 1.056 GFlop/s) had been measured and the machine has been at rank 142 on the June 2003 edition of the List of the 500 most powerful computers systems of the world. This machine was operational until autumn 2008.


2005 - a Computer Center out of the Box.

19. Bladecenter front view with storage unit at bottom 20. Bladecenter rear view 21. Bladecenter details


After finishing the update of the cluster some work had to be done to improve other parts of the IT-Infrastructure. In spring 2005 a first blade center which hosts 14 dual processor servers (IBM PowerPC and Intel Xeon) had been installed at the institute to replace old Internet server hardware. The blade center has redundant power supplies, storage area and local area network switches integrated and it is connected to a fiber channel storage unit with a current capacity of 2 TB. IBM AIX, SuSE Linux Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Windows and VMWare ESX operating systems are used.


2006 - first Linux Cluster installed at the Institute.

22. Delivery of the CLME Cluster 23. One minute before the first Power-on!


At the last day of 2006 a  new Linux cluster, funded by the German federal ministry for education and research, has been delivered to PIK to be used by scientists in the CLME1 project.  This high performance 224 processor Linux cluster has been delivered and installed by IBM Germany in order to increase the computational capacity of the IBM Power4 based cluster already installed.


24. 20 kW of Power required. 25. Blade Center and Blades.


The compute nodes of the cluster are arranged into four blade centers with 14 blades each. Each of the blades is equipped with two dual core Intel Woodcrest CPU (3 Ghz, 1500 Mhz FSB) and 8 GByte memory. All nodes are diskless and boot Novell SLES10 Linux remotely. A high performance Voltaire Infiniband network has been installed for parallel scientific applications and the parallel file system. For the temporary storage of the output of numerical simulations a 70 TByte high performance parallel file system is directly attached to the compute blades via the Infiniband network.


1 - climate version of the local model used for the statistical analysis of extreme events.


2008/2009 - IBM iDataPlex - 2.560 Intel cores and the biggest iron ever installed @ PIK.

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Installation work on a  new cluster started immediately after a bid invitation has been evaluated and a contract signed in autumn 2008. The new cluster with 2.560 Intel cores, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system and a full service offering from IBM covering the years 2009 - 2012 ranked place 244 on the List of the worlds 500 most powerful computer systems in June 2009. The machine came in a new IBM iDataplex form factor which had been especially designed for high energy efficiency.  In operation the system requires about 150 kW of electrical energy - including management, networking and 200 TByte of attached disk space. Two thirds of the generated heat are cooled directly via rear door heat exchangers.


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2011 -  One Petabyte of additional storage capacity installed for the HPC Cluster!

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Capacity of the original parallel filesystems which had been installed together with the cluster at the end of 2008 was almost exhausted in spring 2011 and thus a secondary storage pool had to be added. This system - three fully equipped IBM DCS3700 storage servers - provide one Petabyte of additional raw capacity for scientific work. Volumes have been mapped as secondary storage pool to  parallel filesystems without interrupting operations and a quarter of capacity had been used to set up a large cache for backups.


Pictures courtesy of Bernhard Zepke, IBM (1), Lothar Lindenhan, PIK (2-7), Bettina Saar, PIK (10-18), Roger Grzondziel, PIK (19-21), Gunnar Zierenberg, IBM (22-25) and Karsten Kramer (26-32).

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