The University of Pittsburgh is the latest institution to opt for an Xserve cluster.

The Department of Human Genetics had been running a Linux cluster, but with more than 30 professors and research teams involved in more than 120 complex research projects with growing computing and storage needs, an upgrade was required.

Assistant professor Dr Michael Barmada told Apple that he set his sights on a 250-processor Xserve G5 cluster because of the "easier administration" and because it "gives us much more power and potential than before".

The "ease of porting UNIX applications" to the Mac was also an attraction, as were "the added benefits that we can reap with the Xserve’s vectorization and G5 processor’s vector and 64-bit capabilities."

The Xserve also supports the statistical genetics applications written in standard C code, Fortran and Pascal code. "Mac OS X on the Xserves allows us to run our existing and legacy statistical genetics code – originally written for Solaris and Linux systems – without having to modify it extensively," he explained.

"With the Linux cluster we could run 48 jobs with 48 processors. With the Xserve cluster we can get five times as much done. I was able to give the Apple cluster 750 jobs and run those for a day without any problems. And it can take a lot more work than we’re giving it."