Addison Snell's HPC trends: Interesting things, and a few comments we take issue with

I found the article on InsideHPC about Addison’s presentation quite useful. The presentation is available from the link above.
Some points he made, I’d like to take issue with. Specifically, page 9, he notes that Windows HPC is “still coming”. I am not too sure of this. I think it has been a multi-year, almost half decade experiment, that at some point, needs to show that its revenue is greater than the cost of that revenue. The business model for it doesn’t make much sense from a simple vertical for Microsoft. It won’t really ever generate $1B type numbers for Microsoft … if it is around, it is in the noise of their business. Moreover, the cost of winning with it is *huge* for Microsoft. They have to fight against an entrenched competitor with effectively zero actual cost.
Short version, its a Quixotic quest.

Read moreAddison Snell's HPC trends: Interesting things, and a few comments we take issue with

As the market changes …

I’ve argued for a while that accelerators are going to be a creative and destructive force in HPC. They profoundly change the cost per cycle landscape, as well as the number of cycles per unit time. I’ve pointed out here that despite some misunderstanding of transformative technological trends, that better cheaper faster is one of the most important driving forces in HPC. It is a viable business model if you can figure out how to get the appropriate traction, and its very hard for larger organizations to adequately respond. That is, without simply buying the smaller company with better cheaper faster.
Michael Feldman makes a number of points in this regard. This is specifically about Westmere (the new Nehalem part), but he correctly generalizes to the rest of the industry.
A few points worth noting.

Read moreAs the market changes …

A good read: from Glen at Dell

For those who don’t know Dr. Glen Otero, he has been a tireless advocate for all things HPC in Life sciences. His background is in computational immunology. Great to work with.
He has an article on the Dell Tech Center (yeah, I know, I need to update the blogroll, I’ll do it this weekend) on a “controversy” thats been finding fertile ground in the conspiracy theory amplifying interwebs.
I highly recommend this article. In it, Glen points out that people place all too much faith in what you hear via rumor and innuendo, and too little in actual fact and skeptical inquiry.
It is terribly important for scientists to get the science right, and admit it when the science is found to be wrong. No ego issues should prevail (they do, scientists are human). But at the same time, the Oprah-level science worldview shouldn’t be amplified, with celebrities, politicians, and other … er … scientific illiterati … tossing their two cents in to a “scientific” debate.

Read moreA good read: from Glen at Dell

Hmmm … looks like some of these hinted results were run on our siCluster

see this link for more. Specifically the mention of Tony Asaro: What are your File OPS? Based on what configuration? Are you going to participate in SpecFS? Gluster Folks: Here’s an interesting test result. We tested a read workload using 128k blocks vs. the more common use of small block size such as 4k (it … Read moreHmmm … looks like some of these hinted results were run on our siCluster

"New" File systems worth watching

The day job currently has siClusters in the field with GlusterFS, Lustre, and a few other “older” parallel file systems.
GlusterFS is a distributed file system with a very interesting and powerful design concept. It is under active development by a venture backed company, Gluster, Inc. I can’t say enough good things about it, and the company behind it. The day job is in a relationship with them, so you may take this information for what its worth, and weight it accordingly. Our view is, generally, that they have something very close to “the right design” going forward. There are occasional issues that pop up, usually connected with Infiniband, that we can’t necessarily fault Gluster for, but they do bear the brunt of errors in the transport stacks. We’ve seen this derail installs at one location, during effectively corner case testing … these weren’t Gluster issues per se, they were pretty definitively IB stack issues, but ones that couldn’t be easily worked around.

Read more"New" File systems worth watching

second siCluster sold and being built, third hopefully on its way to being ordered

[one must not post when on pain medication … nope, bad idea] somewhat exceeding our targets for Q1 on these units. I had hoped to have had an additional sales resource online by now, but the person I wanted to hire chose a different path. More power to him. Will continue to look for the … Read moresecond siCluster sold and being built, third hopefully on its way to being ordered