What do animation flick Madagascar and a 2005 Formula One (F1) racecar have in common?
The answer is Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) utility computing technology that the company says provides enterprise customers additional computing resources on demand.
By linking up to the HP Utility Rendering Service, a scaleable offsite server farm, artists at DreamWorks Animation optimized graphic technology with flexible computing capacity, according to Lynn Anderson, vice-president for marketing at Mississauga-based HP Canada Co.
With the aid of a Linux-based HP xw8000 dual processor, DreamWorks created Madagascar, a seamless animation film that’s currently making waves at the box office. Formula One is rapidly changing, making it a fantastic test bed for technology.Tim Bush>Text According to Anderson, utility computing gives enterprises a cost-effective IT solution, with flexibility to increase or decrease capacity according to their current requirements. And they are billed only for actual consumption.
For BMW WilliamsF1, the F1 Grand Prix team based in Grove, U.K., utility computing allowed its racecar engineers to run numerous design option simulations using Computational Fluid Design (CFD) software. CFD is a method of simulating aerodynamics for designing and testing the F1 car. It results in greater accuracy during the actual application of wind tunnel.
“Formula One is rapidly changing, making it a fantastic test bed for (HP) technology,” said Tim Bush, HP’s high performance technical computing manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, at the technology briefing held Friday in Montreal. The F1 Canadian Grand Prix was held over the weekend at Casino de Montreal.
HP has been the principal sponsor of the BMW Williams F1 Team since 2000, providing the team with technology tools and services to continuously enhance the speed and quality of this year’s F1 car design dubbed FW27.
“The combination of powerful HP server and management software technology enables the BMW WilliamsF1 Team to solve a range of complex modeling challenges with greater flexibility and agility, while the technology will evolve as their needs change,” said Bush.
Using utility computing, the HP Bristol lab in the U.K. deployed a cluster of 96 64-bit 1.3GHz Itanium processors, remotely controlled and monitored by the WilliamsF1 design team in Grove. The system allowed the team to do design testing and crash analyses for risk reduction with the “lowest cost of operation”, Bush said.
At its headquarters, the WilliamsF1 Team also deployed the HP Cluster Platform 4000 Supercomputing system, a Linux-based supercomputer cluster using HP Proliant servers for aerodynamic modeling and analysis. For developing the FW27 car components, the team adopted the C8000 Unix CAD workstations running on HP-UX operating system.
At the track, HP provided a transportable data centre featuring third-generation HP Proliant DL380G3 servers with MSA (modular storage array) 1000 storage system. These computers monitor and run analyses of the car’s performance at the race.
The team also deploys HP’s Open View Storage mirroring system, which allows satellite transmission of real-time race data from the car to the team’s onsite data centre and the Williams F1 headquarters in Europe, according to Bush.
Global branding may be one of HP’s primary goals for embarking on global sponsorships such as the F1 race, but the company also sees it as a demonstration of its newest technologies, said Andrew Collis, director of HP’s global sports sponsorships.
He said one of the reasons HP is involved with the F1 Grand Prix is because “technology is its DNA.”
“The F1 race is an accelerated world where we can test (HP technology) strategies and capabilities,” Collis said.
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