T-Platforms and Water Cooling

For ISC’11 in Hamburg, T-Platforms brought to their exhibition booth a prototype of a water-cooled system. I think I remember those thick black rubber tubes (and hope that was not a dream).

(UPD: A Google search reveals that they were, indeed, working on a water-cooled system, to be installed in the Moscow State University. The prototype system called “TB2W”was developed, and it is described in this T-Platforms’ brochure. Probably that was the system I saw at ISC’11).

Image: TB2W prototype from the above-mentioned T-Platforms’ brochure

So I decided they are working on a product that would implement water cooling. But, much to my surprise, one year later, at ISC’12, they didn’t bring anything water-cooled with them. Their sales manager told me they currently ship traditional air-cooled systems, and have also produced a “personal supercomputer” — a replacement for Cray CX1 product that is no longer shipped by Cray. How bizarre, I thought.

Just a couple of days later I was strolling around the exhibition hall, and came to the IBM booth to take a look at their water-cooled iDataPlex servers they used for SuperMUC, as they were on display. I was having a conversation with IBM representative when I saw a T-Platforms employee coming up to the booth, accompanied by a lady. They came to the water-cooled server, and he pointed his finger somewhere to the copper tubes and told: “Look here! Let’s see, that’s how they made the cooling”.

I was really surprised and, actually, I was just stunned. The IBM representative didn’t understand why I suddenly stopped talking to him, so I had to explain that those visitors were his competitors from T-Platforms. “Really?”, he replied. I can’t say he was pleased to hear that, but unlike me, he at least stood firm on the ground.

Later I had a conversation with another man whose company had a booth at the exhibition. He commented on the situation in the following way: “Yes, we saw that T-Platforms guy near our booth — but we recognized him, and so we advised him to stay away”.

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    2 Responses to T-Platforms and Water Cooling

    1. Stephan says:

      Uh, ok. What’s the point here? Competitors wander in and out of each others booths at ISC and SC all the time. It comes with the territory. This is really a silly point to be making. I worked for one of the big HPC vendors for years, and part of our strategy at each conference was to have our folks visit the competitors’ booths to gather information. Your blog perspective is either naive or simply slanted against T-Platforms for some reason -but overall – serves no purpose in positioning their technical capability. I’m also on a review team that recently looked at a number of solutions for 2013 from IBM, HP, Intel (and partners), T-Platforms and others – and they are right up there with the rest in terms of their research in areas such as hot-water cooling.

      • ks says:

        Hi, Stephan,

        Thanks for your input! But it seems you “read between the lines” something which I didn’t actually say! My whole post is basically about two facts that did happen: (1) I learned that T-Platforms haven’t brought anything water-cooled to ISC’12, and (2) I saw T-Platforms representative pointing his finger to the iDataPlex water-cooled server from IBM.

        I didn’t accuse T-Platforms of doing anything wrong, and didn’t make any implications. I just described the facts that happened. Yes, I wanted some feedback from my readers on that matter, and it has arrived.

        Indeed, that lady accompanying the guy might have been a potential client, or a random person — whatever; how do we know? I mean, no one is going to accuse T-Platforms based just on these facts.

        Besides, T-Platforms is in the proper financial standing, and their financial results are publicly disclosed on their website. (Yes, the financial year 2011 was unprofitable, but such things do happen. In April 2012, there was a discussion on it here, although it’s in Russian).

        T-Platforms is constantly getting major HPC contracts funded by the government of Russia. Therefore, I am quite sure that T-Platforms could hire a talented team of engineers and come up with a water-cooled product — that comes without a question — but they just didn’t find it necessary, and it’s their right.

        Next, I know personally that guy from T-Platforms who was pointing his finger — we worked very closely with him when my university was procuring two clusters from T-Platforms. He’s a nice guy.

        So, I am not biased against (or towards) T-Platforms :-) Simply I was too much surprised to see how straightforward it could be: coming to the competitor’s booth and pointing fingers at their hardware :-)

        Also, I am sure there are better ways to learn about the Aquasar cooling system than to just look at the copper tubes, so again, no one is accusing T-Platforms.

        But still, although I didn’t provide my own opinion on the situation in the blog post, I cited another exhibitor, and, as you remember, they asked that guy to stay away from their booth. I don’t mean to imply anything — just telling you the facts!

        Yours, Konstantin.

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