United Devices Founder on Grids, Clusters

By By Derrick Harris, Editor

November 21, 2005

GRIDtoday editor Derrick Harris spoke with Ed Hubbard, founder and chief marketing officer of United Devices, about the company's strategy around SC'05. its recent acquisition of France-based GridXpert (a leader in the manufacturing sector), the issues of Grid standards and Grid adoption, and the differences between Grids and clusters — a topic that arises quite often in the HPC space.

GRIDtoday: How's everything going with United Devices? Will you be announcing any news at SC'05?

ED HUBBARD: Business continues to grow with several of our large customers moving their Grids to a central services model and offering them enterprise-wide.

At SC'05, we'll have a number of announcements, three as a matter of fact. We'll have an announcement with HP, Microsoft and an ISV partner.

Gt: What about the news of the past several months? Can you comment on the GridXpert acquisition? How has it affected the company in terms of customers in new markets and geographies?

HUBBARD: Acquiring GridXpert and its best-of-breed meta-scheduling technology has accelerated a number of our deployments by leveling the complexities of multiple, incompatible schedulers/DRMs. Not surprisingly, we've also opened up a number of conversations within our expanded customer base around the products and services offered by UD. Finally, part of our reasoning for this acquisition was to significantly enhance our position in manufacturing and I believe this has been more successful than we projected. The former GridXpert team (now UD, of course) had a fairly large number of evaluations going on that we've been able to add a lot of value to from a services and technology perspective. I anticipate a very good conversion rate on these evaluations.

Gt: Moving on to the Grid industry as a whole, I'm wondering where you see the market heading in terms of widespread adoption? Would it benefit the cause if the community could agree on some quality standards?

HUBBARD: We continue to architect around open Web services standards, which have served us well with customers. In fact, this is one of the areas where we continue to receive a lot of positive feedback — namely the ability of our customers to easily create application services and portals around our infrastructure in environments like Java and C#.

On the topic of standards, I don't think they've held the industry back as they've largely been irrelevant to date (at least in our deployments). Our view is that this is changing but not in the way you might expect. We actually see more divergence, which was another problem we wanted to address with the GridXpert acquisition. By embracing the reality of the market (multiple, incompatible schedulers / DRMs) and providing a solution to eliminate that unnecessary complexity for our customers, we believe we have a superior product set to solve what our customers really face in their everyday production environments.

I don't think this is going to change very quickly since there is a huge gap between public/press perception and commercial reality that needs to be closed with some open conversation:

  • There is a perception out there that WSRF/OGSA & Globus are standards.
  • The reality is that Globus is merely a Grid software toolkit. In other words, it is an implementation geared toward academic environments where it has been somewhat successful — it is not a standard by any means. OGSA is really WSRF and is currently under review at OASIS and it does not address current enteprise issues around interopability. Most of the requirements addressed in the current document reflect academic needs of running multiple Grid services across different organizations.

We've tried hard to stay out of this debate and just be customer-driven, but this is the core problem of standards for the Grid market that no one seems willing to admit or discuss openly.

Gt: How is it that United Devices is so successful in the Grid space given the somewhat disappointing enterprise adoption rates? Does it have something to do with simply targeting the right customers in the right industries?

HUBBARD: We have 100-plus customers today ranging in size from 20 nodes to 3 million, but this hasn't been an overnight success. We have worked hard and slugged it out with more than a dozen other players that have come and, thankfully, gone. This has left a pretty stable set of solutions that have settled into that age-old competitive triad (UD, DataSynapse and Platform) where there are three quality solutions in the market that all own their respective verticals and compete in the verticals where no player has a clearly dominant position.

I would argue that Grids have already penetrated the majority of the Fortune 500 in some form even if they haven't been adopted as an enterprise-wide service yet. For UD, we chose to focus early-on on life sciences and have been very successful in that vertical market. We've built up a ton of credibility, a high-quality set of references and large, complex deployments that I'd put up against any competitor's reference set. With GridXpert, I hope we've successfully telegraphed that we plan to repeat this same success in the manufacturing and other environments and, in fact, are already well on our way.

Gt: On to Supercomputing … what is it about this show that draws so many attendees and exhibitors? For how long has United Devices been exhibiting at the show?

HUBBARD: I think the show draws well because of the natural progress of technology, e.g. what used to be a highly specialized supercomputing application 10 years ago is now running on a Grid and the results can be visualized and manipulated on a single workstation. The democratization of these engineering analyses has continued unabated and the show where you can go to discuss them across the board remains the SC'XY shows.

UD has either exhibited or attended the show (based on our strategy for the given year) since 2000.

Gt: Seeing as how United Devices operates in both the Grid and cluster markets, which do you tend to focus on at SC events, which seem to focus a more on the cluster/HPC market?

HUBBARD: We typically focus on clusters at the SC'XY shows for both practical/logistics reasons and because we just think its a better fit from an application perspective. If you look across the set of applications in use and demo'd at the SC'XY shows, you'll find a large number of MPI-based applications that really require the speed and low interconnect latency of a cluster to run effectively. A Grid is simply a set of resources — these resources could include clusters. We don't see a Grid market as different from a cluster market. We can effectively manage clusters stand-alone or as part of larger Grid deployments through our Grid MP platform (MPI jobs included).

Gt: Finally, and I'm starting to ask this question a lot because I feel that there is still some confusion out there, can you define, at least from a United Devices perspective, the differences/similarities between clusters and Grids?

HUBBARD: Grids are the superset in our vernacular. A Grid can be made up of any available device that may be useful to the application type(s) the enterprise is trying to accelerate, raise the reliability on, etc. That said, we love starting somewhere on a cluster because we can clearly articulate how this single, little cluster could grow up to be the enterprise's Grid — we call this a “Grid-ready cluster.” Many of our current implementations started out as a cluster and built a Grid of clusters and other resources.

Clusters are, in general, simpler animals. They are typically self contained, built from homogeneous hardware, have dedicated, private-switched networks and storage, are managed carefully by dedicated staff and are often a better path from a price/performance perspective for a number of applications.

Grids, on the other hand, often include a cluster, or multiple clusters. Sometimes running the same underlying scheduler/DRM, but sometimes not. They can also contain servers that are part of “'hot” recovery sites, underutilized machines from, for example, a company's Web farm that do very little at night but which can add significant power to a Grid with high overnight processing demands. Workstations and PCs are also often a part of enterprise Grids and this adds complexity around security requirements, data management and caching, etc., that we've tuned for in our Grid MP platform. Finally, Grids become a much larger, integrated part of the business's core value creation and as such absolutely require a higher level of manageability than a single cluster. This area is one where we have been increasingly focused over the last couple years driven by our customers.

The Grid is fundamentally about removing the current hard, static binding between an application and its execution environment. In the new world, this binding will be soft and very dynamic. The benefits of doing this are very significant for our customers.

Gt: Is there anything else you'd like to add about United Devices, SC'05 or the Grid market in general?

HUBBARD:
From both introspection and looking at our competitors, we fully believe that Grids are moving into mainstream adoption. All indications from our current customers and prospects point in this direction.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Supercomputers Streamline Prediction of Dangerous Arrhythmia

June 2, 2020

Heart arrhythmia can prove deadly, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of deaths from cardiac arrest in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, many of those arrhythmia are induced as side effects from various medicati Read more…

By Staff report

Indiana University to Deploy Jetstream 2 Cloud with AMD, Nvidia Technology

June 2, 2020

Indiana University has been awarded a $10 million NSF grant to build ‘Jetstream 2,’ a cloud computing system that will provide 8 aggregate petaflops of computing capability in support of data analysis and AI workload Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been instrumental to AMD’s datacenter market resurgence. Nanomet Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer-Powered Protein Simulations Approach Lab Accuracy

June 1, 2020

Protein simulations have dominated the supercomputing conversation of late as supercomputers around the world race to simulate the viral proteins of COVID-19 as accurately as possible and simulate potential bindings in t Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC Career Notes: June 2020 Edition

June 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it's a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we've got Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

AWS Solution Channel

Computational Fluid Dynamics on AWS

Over the past 30 years Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has grown to become a key part of many engineering design processes. From aircraft design to modelling the blood flow in our bodies, the ability to understand the behaviour of fluids has enabled countless innovations and improved the time to market for many products. Read more…

Supercomputer Modeling Shows How COVID-19 Spreads Through Populations

May 30, 2020

As many states begin to loosen the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that have forced most Americans inside for the past two months, researchers are poring over the data, looking for signs of the dreaded second peak of t Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Indiana University to Deploy Jetstream 2 Cloud with AMD, Nvidia Technology

June 2, 2020

Indiana University has been awarded a $10 million NSF grant to build ‘Jetstream 2,’ a cloud computing system that will provide 8 aggregate petaflops of comp Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Expands to Europe, Reports on Research Projects

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium, a public-private effort delivering free access to HPC processing for scientists pursuing coronavirus research – some utilizing AI Read more…

By Doug Black

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Boosts Deep Learning Accuracy on Memristive Chips

May 27, 2020

IBM researchers have taken another step towards making in-memory computing based on phase change (PCM) memory devices a reality. Papers in Nature and Frontiers Read more…

By John Russell

Hats Over Hearts: Remembering Rich Brueckner

May 26, 2020

HPCwire and all of the Tabor Communications family are saddened by last week’s passing of Rich Brueckner. He was the ever-optimistic man in the Red Hat presiding over the InsideHPC media portfolio for the past decade and a constant presence at HPC’s most important events. Read more…

Nvidia Q1 Earnings Top Expectations, Datacenter Revenue Breaks $1B

May 22, 2020

Nvidia’s seemingly endless roll continued in the first quarter with the company announcing blockbuster earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Nvidia Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft’s Massive AI Supercomputer on Azure: 285k CPU Cores, 10k GPUs

May 20, 2020

Microsoft has unveiled a supercomputing monster – among the world’s five most powerful, according to the company – aimed at what is known in scientific an Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Contributors

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve Read more…

By John Russell

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This