A New Take on Utility Computing

By Derrick Harris

June 4, 2007

Since making my foray into the world of grid computing, I have seen no shortage of efforts, solutions and practices dubbed “utility computing.” Offerings such as Sun’s Network.com, IBM’s Blue Gene On-Demand and HP’s Utility Computing Services are only the tip of the iceberg, as countless vendors — from 3Tera to Egenera — and organizations — Media Grid, for example — also have joined the fray, all adding their own spin to the idea of capacity on-demand. Last week, however, I saw utility computing take on what is (to me, at least) a whole new, yet awfully familiar, look.

You see, for most of the aforementioned utility computing solutions — and for the majority of those I’ve omitted — the catch is that the CPU resources come from outside of the company firewall, from some resource provider who spares you the hassle of maintaining a costly hardware infrastructure. In the case of the newly announced partnership between software provider Cassatt and IT consultant BearingPoint, however, the notion of utility computing comes in-house, with the IT department playing the role of service provider to the rest of the company. And on top of simply providing resources, the solution, based on Cassatt’s Collage Platform, offers the increasingly prevalent Grid 2.0 characteristics of dynamic resource allocation, SLAs and the ability to manage both physical and virtual machines.

Frederic Veron, managing director at BearingPoint, acknowledges that utility computing has been broadly viewed as an external IT solution, but told me that in his opinion, the concept is far more specific to what rather than where. ” ‘Utility’ means what?” he asked. “It means you can subscribe to it; you have a number of different service levels and, depending on the service level you select … your unit cost will be different; and you have that notion of computing on-demand, or computing on-tap, and you pay as you go or as you use.” Given his definition, it’s difficult to argue that utility computing necessarily means off-site.

Of course, the real key to delivering resources as a utility lies in the ability to accurately meter and monetize usage, and both Veron and Gamiel Gran, Cassatt’s vice president of alliances, rank Collage’s metering function among its most notable features. In fact, if you ask me, the emphasis on resource monitoring might be the big differentiator between Cassatt’s solution and the slew of on-demand, datacenter-driven grid platforms that have been getting so much (virtual) ink in this publication. According to Gran, “This is distinct from a traditional grid-based infrastructure model that predominantly enforces usage of resources themselves. For us, it’s more about full automation and optimization of a service delivery model.” He cites characteristics like high-availability, SLAs and policy enforcement, and metering as elements of this automation and optimization.

Different from a “traditional grid-based infrastructure model?” Perhaps. But when compared to the current and, indeed, next generation of grid platforms, it is really the latter in Gran’s list that sets Collage, and the Cassatt/BearingPoint definition of utility computing, apart from solutions that include “grid” somewhere in their descriptions. Veron, for his part, told me that while he doesn’t consider grid and virtualization capabilities inherent to utility computing, “You need a little bit of each of these ingredients to really have a strong utility in your environment.” But enough of this; I could argue semantics all day.

The real story here is that we’re seeing the move toward on-demand, virtualized, highly available and policy-driven datacenter solutions gain even more momentum. In this case of Cassatt and BearingPoint, they will focus their collective energies initially on the financial services market — like Gran said, “Where the pain is most severe is where we go first” — but believe that public sector institutions, along with companies in the technology, communications and media markets, also will be big customers of the product.

This announcement aside, however, there are a few other items in this issue that I think are worth noting, and on which I will be following up over the next couple of weeks. The first of these is Altair’s new usage-based licensing model, which the company assures us will revolutionize the way grid shops utilize their infrastructures. Next up is Digipede landing yet another financial services customer, this one in the form of hedge fund manager III Offshore Advisors. I’ll be speaking with Digipede President John Powers to get the low-down on why his company seems to be so popular with the financial marketplace. And, finally, expect to hear a little more about Objectivity, whose Objectivity/DB platform has just achieved the highest level of IBM grid compatibility. While this news by itself might not seem too important, when looked at in the context of the recent buzz around distributed databases and grid systems, it becomes increasingly more significant.

Finally, as usual, I’ll direct your attention to a few other announcements that — if they haven’t already seen them — are sure to be big news for certain segments of our audience. These include: “DoE Launches First Segment of Next- Generation Network“; “Clemson, Sun Combine HPC With Transportation Industry“; “Juniper Networks Boosts Performance for SAP Applications“; and “BEA Addresses EDA With WebLogic Event Server.”

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!

China’s Tencent Server Design Will Use AMD Rome

November 13, 2019

Tencent, the Chinese cloud giant, said it would use AMD’s newest Epyc processor in its internally-designed server. The design win adds further momentum to AMD’s bid to erode rival Intel Corp.’s dominance of the glo Read more…

By George Leopold

NCSA Industry Conference Recap – Part 1

November 13, 2019

Industry Program Director Brendan McGinty welcomed guests to the annual National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Industry Conference, October 8-10, on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana (UIUC). On Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing components with Intel Xeon, AMD Epyc, IBM Power, and Arm server ch Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel AI Summit: New ‘Keem Bay’ Edge VPU, AI Product Roadmap

November 12, 2019

At its AI Summit today in San Francisco, Intel touted a raft of AI training and inference hardware for deployments ranging from cloud to edge and designed to support organizations at various points of their AI journeys. Read more…

By Doug Black

SIA Recognizes Robert Dennard with 2019 Noyce Award

November 12, 2019

If you don’t know what Dennard Scaling is, the chances are strong you don’t labor in electronics. Robert Dennard, longtime IBM researcher, inventor of the DRAM and the fellow for whom Dennard Scaling was named, is th Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Leveraging Exaflops Performance to Remediate Nuclear Waste

November 12, 2019

Nuclear waste storage sites are a subject of intense controversy and debate; nobody wants the radioactive remnants in their backyard. Now, a collaboration between Berkeley Lab, Pacific Northwest National University (PNNL Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Adds Support for Ion Trap Quantum Technology to Qiskit

November 11, 2019

After years of percolating in the shadow of quantum computing research based on superconducting semiconductors – think IBM, Rigetti, Google, and D-Wave (quant Read more…

By John Russell

Tackling HPC’s Memory and I/O Bottlenecks with On-Node, Non-Volatile RAM

November 8, 2019

On-node, non-volatile memory (NVRAM) is a game-changing technology that can remove many I/O and memory bottlenecks and provide a key enabler for exascale. Th Read more…

By Jan Rowell

MLPerf Releases First Inference Benchmark Results; Nvidia Touts its Showing

November 6, 2019

MLPerf.org, the young AI-benchmarking consortium, today issued the first round of results for its inference test suite. Among organizations with submissions wer Read more…

By John Russell

Azure Cloud First with AMD Epyc Rome Processors

November 6, 2019

At Ignite 2019 this week, Microsoft's Azure cloud team and AMD announced an expansion of their partnership that began in 2017 when Azure debuted Epyc-backed ins Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Launches Credit Card-Sized 21 TOPS Jetson System for Edge Devices

November 6, 2019

Nvidia has launched a new addition to its Jetson product line: a credit card-sized (70x45mm) form factor delivering up to 21 trillion operations/second (TOPS) o Read more…

By Doug Black

In Memoriam: Steve Tuecke, Globus Co-founder

November 4, 2019

HPCwire is deeply saddened to report that Steve Tuecke, longtime scientist at Argonne National Lab and University of Chicago, has passed away at age 52. Tuecke Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Spending Spree: Hyperscalers Bought $57B of IT in 2018, $10B+ by Google – But Is Cloud on Horizon?

October 31, 2019

Hyperscalers are the masters of the IT universe, gravitational centers of increasing pull in the emerging age of data-driven compute and AI.  In the high-stake Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. 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