Gallery: Raijin, NCI’s Petaflop Supercomputer

Gallery: Raijin, NCI’s Petaflop Supercomputer

Raijin is the supercomputer run by the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), and used for a wide range of scientific research projects. Here’s an inside look at the computing and cooling gear that drives it.

Lifehacker took a media tour of NCI last week as part of an event to celebrate NetApp signing up to provide high performance and flash storage technology to NCI. 11 petabytes of storage will be added to NCI’s infrastructure, giving it 44 petabytes in total.

NCI’s headquarters host Raijin, which runs on 54,472 Fujitsu primary cores and has a peak performance of 1.2 petaflops. Also on offer is a high capacity file system (Lustre), which includes 7.6 petabytes of flash storage and 18.4 petabytes of project storage, along with a 20 petabyte tape array; and a research cloud running on 3200 Dell cores with 25TB of memory.

As well as running the most powerful supercomputer in the southern hemisphere, NCI has one of the tidiest data rooms we’ve ever seen. All the spares are neatly boxed and sorted, and the cable management is a joy to behold. Also evident: many, many warning signs.

And then there’s the cooling system, including 60,000 and 30,000 litre storage tanks, and the high-performance UPS, which can fire instantly onto a battery and then fully power up the back-up generator within 26 seconds.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Canberra as a guest of NetApp.


  • fire sprinklers instead of gaseous fire suppression system? seems an odd way to go.

    • Which picture can you see fire sprinklers? The pipes on the ceiling I think is the cooling water.

      • ugh, essentially all the pictures within the data hall that show the ceiling also show the fire sprinklers…

  • Hey Angus,

    You should mention how many Megawatts of power it uses.
    The picture above the one that has a pipe labelled “chilled water”, shows 2 compressors, each with a capacity of 1.2 MW, next to them are some smaller ones you can’t see with a capacity of 0.3MW.

    Maybe you would like to do a followup article with some of the amazing things they do with Raijin?

    • how did you draw the conclusion of 1.2MW and 0.3MW cooling capacity for the chillers? The chiller off in the distance has a single screw compressor and would be estimated at a minimum of 500kWr.

      Besides, these chillers would serve the whole facility not just the one computer. if it uses more megawatts of cooling does that make it better or worse. I am sure I’d prefer to use less power for the same performance.

      PS, to the author, I thought Magnus (at Pawsey) was supposedly the most powerful computer in the southern hemisphere, not the two year old Raijin.

      • No I am not that clever, I asked and was told whilst having a tour of the facility.
        The facility is just one computer, this cooling system is just for Raijin.
        These screw compressors are for backup. Canberra has a dry climate and the primary cooling is an evaporative system on the roof. These are just for when the evap system is not working efficiently enough.
        As to which is faster, they are being upgraded throughout their lives, it is always changing.

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