Shaheen II


Introduced in March 2015, the KSL team manages Shaheen II, a Cray XC40 delivering over 7.2 Pflop/s of theoretical peak performance. With 5.536 Pflop/s of sustained LINPACK performance, Shaheen II was the seventh fastest supercomputer in the world according to the TOP500 list of July 2015. 

The system has 6,174 dual sockets compute nodes based on 16 core Intel Haswell processors running at 2.3GHz. Each node has 128GB of DDR4 memory running at 2300MHz. Overall the system has a total of 197,568 processor cores and 790TB of aggregate memory. Fig. 1 summarises the specifications of the Shaheen II system.



Processor Type:
Intel Haswell

2 CPU sockets per node, 16 processors per CPU. 2.3 GHz

6174 Nodes

197,568 cores

128 GB of DDR4 memory per node

Over 790 TB total memory


Up to 3.1 MW

Water Cooled


More than 100 metric tonnes

36 Cray XC40 compute cabinets, plus disk, blowers, management etc.


7.2 Pflop/s theoretical peak performance

5.53 Pflop/s sustained LINPACK
Ranked 7th in July 2015 Top500 list


Cray Aries Interconnect with Dragonfly topology

57% of the maximum global bandwidth between the 18 groups of 2 cabinets.



Sonexion 2000 Lustre

5988 4TB disks
16 PB of usable storage
Over 500 GB/s bandwidth

ClusterStor E1000 Lustre

3392 16TB disks
37 PB of usable storage
Over 120 GB/s bandwidth

Burst Buffer

Cray DataWarp

536 Solid-state Drives (SSD) fast data cache. 1.5 PB capacity
Over 1.5 TB/s bandwidth


HPE Data Management Framework (DMF)

52,000 tapes providing 100 PB of capacity using a Spectralogic tape library with 20 tape drives

Figure 1. Specification of Cray XC40 Shaheen-II.


The compute nodes are housed in 36 water-cooled XC40 cabinets, and connected via the Aries High Speed Network (HSN). The HSN is configured with 8 optical network connections between every pair of cabinets achieving therefore 57% of the maximum global bandwidth between the 18 groups of two cabinets. This will allow the design of the future upgrade with additional cabinets to accommodate more optical links between all cabinets with the same level of connectivity, i.e. 8 optical network connections between every pair of cabinets.

KAUST’s system includes richly layered data storage architecture. The main data storage solution is a Lustre Parallel file system based on Cray Sonexion 2000 with a usable storage capacity of 17.2 PB delivering around 500 GB/s of I/O throughput. The Cray Sonexion 2000 installation is configured using 72 high performance Scalable Storage Units (SSU) and 144 Object Storage Services (OSS) with 4TB drives connected to the XC40 via 72 LNET router service nodes evenly distributed across the 36 cabinets.

The backup and archiving was initially enabled with a Cray Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) system this has now been replaced with HPE Data Management Framework (DMF) which consists of a tape library with a total capacity of 100 PB.