By Bob Mims
|Utah's Linux Networx has landed $40 million in new funding, money it will use to speed introduction of a new generation of high-performance supercompu- ters.
The Bluffdale company, which made headlines a year ago when it built what then was rated the third-fastest linked computing processor "cluster" in the world for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is expected to officially announce its new "Series B" equity financing today.
However, Dean Hutchings, president and chief operating officer of Linux Networx, on Wednesday told The Salt Lake Tribune the recent fund-raising round led by Oak Investment Partners will more than double its current work force of 150 by late 2005 - and expand product development and marketing worldwide.
"We already have offices in Europe and Asia and plan now to expand on both sides of the world," Hutchings said. "We will focus on development of our products, all of which are associated with high-performance computing cluster- ing."
"Clustering" refers to the merging of hundreds or thousands of high-speed processor units into effectively one mega-computer. Using such techniques, Linux Networx has built some of the world's largest and fastest computing systems for commercial and government clients.
Such data processing power has found applications in the manufacturing, aerospace and petroleum industries as well as scientific and medical research.
Hutchings said the investment is a tribute to the 15-year-old Linux Networx's success. Although the privately held company does not release specific financial information, Hutchings said Linux Networx revenue has grown at an annual rate of 100 percent for the past three and a half years.
Further, the company's one-time dependence on government contracts - about 95 percent of its business in 2000 - has given way to a more diverse client base including corporate, educational and research customers.
"Now, less than 65 percent of our business comes from the government," Hutchings said, crediting the "maturing of the technology in clustering and managing these large systems" for growing market acceptance.
Under terms of the financing deal, Ed Glassmeyer, founding general partner of Oak Investment Partners, will join Linux Networx's board of directors.
Addison Snell, research director for high-performance computing at IDC, praised the development.
"Linux Networx has established itself in the high-performance computing market with the successful delivery of some of the world's most powerful Linux clusters," he said in a statement. "This funding announcement is an endorsement of Linux Networx and its vision in technical computing."
The company made history in 2001 with a 2,304-processor Linux cluster for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - at that point, the largest supercomputing cluster ever created.
Linux Networx since has developed and delivered other mega-computer systems. In addition to Los Alamos' 2,816-processor "Lightning" cluster last year, the company delivered a pair of 256-processor systems to Defense Department battlefield simulation programs.
Defense officials also have ordered a 2,048-processor cluster regarded as among the most powerful supercomputer systems in the world, spokeswoman Andrea Bingham said.