Leon Computers introduces ScaleMP at Magna Steyr

By Radhika Nallayam Sep 10th 2010
Leon Computers introduces ScaleMP at Magna Steyr

Complex environment, tough customer. But Leon Computers did not give up. It came up with an irresistible solution and also brought a new vendor to India.

Summary:

Designing the right solution is no mean feat. One may have to go out of way and come up with the rare to win the tough race. It was thus not very easy for everyone to win a deal from Magna Steyr. This automotive engineering company had a very complex requirement that was quite tough to be fulfilled. The company wanted to set up a high-end compute facility at a very affordable price.Magna was soon approached by a number of SIs, who represented various vendors like IBM, Sun, HP, and Dell.The only SI who finally came up with an alternative was Leon Computers, an HP partner, who eventually won the deal.

Designing the right solution is no mean feat. One may have to go out of way and come up with the rare to win the tough race. It was thus not very easy for everyone to win a deal from Magna Steyr. This automotive engineering company had a very complex requirement that was quite tough to be fulfilled. The company wanted to set up a high-end compute facility at a very affordable price.

The single server that Magna had been using was not sufficient to run high-end calculations. “Processing speed as well as memory was a big problem for us. The time taken for high-end calculations was too high. We were exploring for a solution wherein we needed high processor speeds and scalability, at an affordable price,” says Shailesh Patil, Head - IT at Magna Steyr.

As expected, Magna was soon approached by a number of SIs, who represented various vendors like IBM, Sun, HP, and Dell. While this would have led to a fierce price war under normal circumstances, three out of the four vendors gave up the fight. The reason was indeed interesting. None of them could suggest anything other than a cluster environment to the customer, whereas the only thing that Magna didn’t want was a cluster farm! The only SI who finally came up with an alternative was Leon Computers, an HP partner, who eventually won the deal.

The Right Mix

In the beginning, even Leon was not able to come up with anything other than a cluster farm to address the various requirements of the customer. “A cluster environment would be very complex to configure and manage. It would also require immense expertise to run. Besides, the software licensing cost would be extremely high. So we were clear that we would not go for a clustered environment. Our requirement was to get the best performance out of single core that in turn gives high processing speed and a large amount of memory for some high-end and complex calculations,” explains Patil.

While the competitors could not come up with a better solution, Leon decided to spend more time and effort. “We explored various options and discussed with many people in the industry about more possibilities. A few of my friends in the US suggested to me a company by name ScaleMP, which has no presence in India,” says Rahul Meher, Founder of Leon Computers.

Though the vendor had no direct presence India, the team at Leon realized that it was the only option they could look at. With ScaleMP’s solution, multiple physical systems appear to function as a single logical system. This can be called as aggregation, or the opposite of partitioning or server virtualization. And to Meher’s joy and relief, the vendor was more than happy to make its first sale in India and thus helped the SI with all its needs.

“Both IBM and Sun proposed a clustered environment, whereas Dell did not show much interest from the beginning itself. The solution proposed by HP and ScaleMP was definitely much better as it offered better results on an x86 platform,” says Patil. Leon suggested a solution based on virtual SMP foundation, through which the customer could leverage the benefits of a traditional SMP compute system over a spread of multiple physical compute servers. The fact that Leon took more than three months to do the research and come up with a solution speaks volumes about the effort and time it spent for the customer. Magna, interestingly, was left with no options other than to wait for Leon’s solution.

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