HPC @ Cisco?

Cisco announced a new product today, code named California. You can read some of the info here. This system, also known more formally as a “Unified Computing System” aims to integrate computing, networking and storage into a single managed system. Cisco appears to be aiming for what it believes to be a sweet spot in virtualized infrastructures.

Their play appears to be focused upon virtualization. They tied in a slew of players on the software stack side, and Accenture on the services side.

Ok, but is it an HPC system or an HPC play? Could it be?

This I don’t know yet. Cisco’s pages are short on gory details. You can see elements of it on some of their pages.

It seems they are missing storage. Hey Cisco, we have a great product here, and it would integrate real well there …

(yeah, I know, wishful thinking …)

Is it an HPC play? First guess is no, as its costs will be out of line with traditional HPC costing. So there would be a sizable premium to use this over traditional HPC gear.

Is this an original play? Not in HPC, but apparently it is in the non-HPC world. The large IT vendors, Dell, IBM, HP, etc all have elements of this they tie together with services. So you can buy your Dell blades, your EMC (or Scalable Informatics!) storage, and other things … and pay for integration. Or you buy a pre-integrated “push this button” thingy and off you go.

But could it be an HPC play?

Yes.

A few months ago I wrote:

But they need special sauce as well. Which is why the Cisco non-announcement, and my speculation about someone grabbing ScaleMP is so interesting. ScaleMP is differentiation. In the era of virtualization-gone-wild, ScaleMP is the counter to this ??? SMP built on demand.

Imagine you have one of these nice California UCS sitting around. And you get a project that comes in, that needs, oh, I dunno, a 32-way server and huge ram to complete. Fire up vSMP, and off you go.

Done with that project, and now time to do something else … tear it down (virtually) and do something else.

This of course depends upon Shai and team getting vSMP going over 10 GbE and the Cisco fabric (no I don’t know if they have, though I’d be willing to bet that Cisco is talking … or should be talking … to Shai about this).

Think about this … lighting up as many small -> large SMPs as you need, in a unified way, quickly and easily.

Yeah, UCS could be an interesting HPC play. Add vSMP to the stack, add some fast storage somewhere into the stack …

I think ScaleMP’s value just doubled. Pure speculation of course.

Make as many small VMs as you want. Make as many large ones as you want as well.

Maybe I am wrong about ScaleMP suitors. I wonder (aloud) if the right match would be VMware. Scale down, scale up.

VMware fundamentally changed the economics of servers, allowing for massive consolidation onto smaller numbers of systems. ScaleMP has (IMO) altered the economics of the large scale servers, by creating the ability to “stitch together” servers to build a large single system image.

Interesting ….

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