CRI Cray Y-MP8 - Shavano
The Cray Y-MP8/864 that would become NCAR's flagship computer for seven years was installed in the NCAR Mesa Laboratory's computer room on May 21, 1990. It was named “Shavano” after a 14,230-foot peak in the Colorado Rockies, which was named using an anglicized version of Che-Wa-No, who was a chief of the Tabeguache branch of the Ute Indians.
The Y-MP had eight processors that could run in parallel and it was used to set a new industry record by sustaining more than one billion floating-point operations per second on an NCAR ocean model. The system had a clock speed of 6 nanoseconds (166.7 MHz) and 64 megawords (512 megabytes) of directly addressable central memory.
It had eight Cray DD-40 disk drives, each with a capacity of 5.297 gigabytes. The disks were connected to the I/O subsystem via channels capable of sustaining a transfer rate of 8.2 megabytes per second. When its X-MP predecessor was decommissioned in the fall of 1990, that system’s 256 million word (2 gigabyte) solid-state disk (SSD) and 20 gigabytes of disk were connected to the Y-MP to complete the system, giving Shavano a total of 60 gigabytes of disk storage.
Shavano represented a leap forward for NCAR, marking the focal point of the Scientific Computing Division's conversion from Cray Research's COS operating system to its UNICOS operating system, which was based on UNIX System V technology, with numerous BSD UNIX features. The shared-memory vector supercomputer was the top of the line for its time.
In June 1997, Shavano was decommissioned after seven years of hard, productive work. NCAR staff serenaded "Old Big Iron" with bagpipes and a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne," eulogizing it as the most popular supercomputer NCAR had ever had.
Ten months later, in April 1998, Shavano was dismantled and removed from the Mesa Laboratory's Computer Room.