To ensure the successful launch of China’s new polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, the China National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) turned to high-performance computing (HPC) and storage solutions from SGI.

NSMC recently deployed China’s largest shared-memory computer — and the fourth most powerful computer in the country — to support the launch program for the FENGYUN-3. The SGI Altix system is powered by 1,280 Intel Itanium 2 processor cores and 4TB of shared memory. NSMC integrated the supercomputer with a 26TB SGI InfiniteStorage solution and the SGIInfiniteStorage Shared Filesystem CXFS.

FENGYUN-3 is China’s second-generation polar-orbiting meteorological satellite which is scheduled for a 2008 launch. The scientists and engineers at NSMC are fine-tuning the software they developed to effectively ingest, process and distribute data sent by the new satellite.
Listed in the No. 4 spot on the latest Top 100 list of HPC systems in China, the SGI(R) Altix 4700 system was fully implemented in August. It is now ready to handle the NSMC’s remote sensing data preprocessing, replay data processing, simulation tests, Archival and Retrieval Service System (ARSS) database, and new application development requirements.

The SGI NUMAlink interconnect enables the NSMC’s six SGI Altix 4700 nodes to deliver fast memory access, which is critical to achieve balanced, sustained performance on technical workloads. Data crosses over an SGI NUMAlink switch, round-trip, in as little as 50 nanoseconds — less time than it takes a beam of light to travel 50 feet-compared to 10,000 nanoseconds or more with many commodity clustering interconnects. And by deploying CXFS, NSMC scientists can share data instantly without having to move massive files across the network.

“The reason we selected the SGI HPC solution for this mission critical application is because we will rely on the SGI interconnect, an extremely fast and low-latency fabric, to ensure optimum performance,” said Jun Yang, director, National Satellite Meteorological Center. “We also appreciate the SGI Altix 4700 architecture’s ability to scale to meet our future application requirements.”
Madam Jin Ming Shi, director of the FENGYUN satellite ground application network system department and chief architect, added, “The installation of the new Altix system went smoothly and was on schedule. The SGI service team was a great asset in deploying such a large system, and we look forward to working with them to optimize our code further so we can take full advantage of this highly parallel and highly scalable system.”
“Today more than ever before, meteorological satellite data is playing an important role in weather forecasts, climate research, environment management, and in natural disaster monitoring,” said Bill Trestrail, vice president, SGI Asia Pacific.

“SGI solutions have a unique ability to ingest, analyze and store such massive amounts of data, which is critical to delivering more accurate forecasts and understanding global climate change. We are looking forward to NSMC’s successful launch of FENGYUN satellite in 2008, and I am sure it will bring remarkable social and economic benefits to China.”