Supercomputer pioneer Cray has signed up to buy low-cost systems from Dell based on clusters of Intel processors.
The agreement will see Cray market high-performance computing systems using Dell PowerEdge servers alongside its existing products.
The Dell High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) combines a large number of servers to work as one very powerful system, and is aimed at data-intensive applications.
Debra Griffiths, worldwide server research vice president at analyst IDC, said: "Smaller organisations have not been able to take advantage of high performance computing because of cost.
"With initiatives like HPCC [they will] have more options for high performance, scalability and investment protection."
Dell's European HPCC programme will offer eight-, 16-, 32- and 64-node PowerEdge servers with validated cluster management software as easy-to-order packages. Customers will then be able to add systems incrementally. These will become available in the second quarter of this year.
Together with selected European partners, Dell Technology Consulting will also offer software and service packages covering solution design, implementation planning and on-site deployment.
An early adopter proving the technology is WesternGeco, a seismic exploration company which recently implemented 128- and 256-system PowerEdge clusters at its Houston site for the high-speed processing of seismic images.
Kannan Venkataraman, WesternGeco's area manager for worldwide computer systems and support, said: "Clusters of industry standard servers allow easier deployment, installation and potential for expansion than traditional supercomputer models.
"These features will mean rapid growth and proliferation of computer capacity at our large data centres and smaller field offices worldwide."
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