Posted On: Jul 13, 2010

Article Excerpt:

A new option for Amazon Web Services has arrived: the raw computing power of supercomputing clusters now widely used in research circles.

The service, called Cluster Compute, is a variation of one of the earliest services Amazon offered, EC2, or Elastic Compute Cloud. Compared with the standard EC2, Cluster Compute offers more processing power and faster network connections among the cluster’s computing nodes for better communications, Amazon said Tuesday. The service retains the same general philosophy, though: customers pay as they go, with more usage incurring more fees.

How fast is it? An 880-node cluster reached 41.82 teraflops, or floating-point operations per second, using the Linpack mathematical speed test. By contrast, the 145th-fastest machine on the most recent “Top500” list of the fastest supercomputers reached a sustained speed of 41.88 teraflops.

The service is sold on the basis of much smaller nodes than what was used in Amazon’s test: a server with two quad-core Intel X5570 Nehalem Xeon processors. Each such instance costs $1.60 per hour to use. Alternatively, with a payment of $4,290 for one year or $6,590 for three years, the per-hour fee drops to 56 cents.

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