The NAS team concluded the division's formal NAS Technology Refresh (NTR) process in June with the selection of 46 Ivy Bridge racks to replace the supercomputer's 64 aging Intel Xeon E5472 (Harpertown) racks. The NTR process is designed to optimally balance NASA's growing requirements for increased supercomputing capability and reliability with the need to reduce cost and risk, while respecting constraints such as funding, facilities, and personnel availability.
The goal of the NTR is to increase the sustained computing capacity of the NAS facility by at least a factor of 4 every three years. Once the newest resources are in place later this summer, Pleiades' computational capacity is expected to increase from a peak of 1.78 to approximately 2.87 petaflops.
NAS systems engineers are now working with SGI to finalize the configuration, and installation is scheduled to begin in late July when the first 16 Ivy Bridge racks are delivered. The plan includes disconnecting 20 Harpertown racks to accommodate the first shipment, and keeping the remaining Harpertown racks in production to minimize the impact to users during the deployment.
Once the first 16 racks are online and stable, the remaining Harpertown racks will be removed, the Ivy Bridge rack installation will be completed, and the systems will be run through a series of extensive tests. The new resources are scheduled for release to the user community in late summer or early fall 2013.