The End of IT as We Know It … Thanks, Virtualization

By Derrick Harris

December 3, 2007

If I learned one thing from the time I spent at last week’s Gartner Data Center conference, it’s that the greater IT community still isn’t entirely on board with the family of technologies this publication holds near and dear, but it will jump on soon enough — and virtualization will spur it along.

Kicking off the event with a keynote titled “The Future of Infrastructure and Operations,” analyst Thomas Bittman predicted that virtualization will be the most “impactful” infrastructure and operations technology through 2012, and that it will help to transition IT into what Gartner is calling the real-time infrastructure (RTI) era. Virtualization will play this facilitator role, he said, because aside from simply being used to consolidate servers, virtualization technology enables the layers of abstraction necessary for alternative delivery models like grid computing, SaaS and cloud computing, all of which will touch different parts of the RTI elephant.

Until we achieve the nirvana that is RTI, however, we should prepare to see virtualization impact everything, said Bittman in a later session, from costs to rollout time to shared services. For example, while Gartner research finds that only 6 percent of virtualization-friendly workloads are actually running in virtualized environments, this number will increase sharply as we approach Gartner’s prediction of 4 million x86-based virtual machines by 2009. We also should expect to see, among other virtualization-based innovations, an increase in software appliances (essentially, pre-packaged applications complete with their own virtual operating systems) and employee-owned PCs that contain locked-down, virtual environments for job-related applications and tasks.

Bittman also predicts virtualization will continue to have a disruptive effect on software licensing as workloads begin to move dynamically across both physical and virtual machines. Illustrating the current state of licensing as it relates to virtualization, an impromptu survey of attendees in the packed MGM Grand meeting room showed 28 percent partaking in custom negotiations for licensing their virtualized environments, 24 percent saying licensing issues have limited their virtualization efforts, and 21 percent claiming virtual licensing concerns are affecting software choices.

Gartner analyst Carl Claunch also sang the praises of virtualization in his keynote highlighting the “Top Ten Disruptive Technologies Affecting the Data Center.” Calling virtualization a “Swiss Army knife tool” for IT, Claunch said it is a “real disservice” to consider virtualization as a technology only to be used for consolidation or slicing up servers. The layers of abstraction that virtualization enables, he commented, are great for eliminating the “dense spiderwebs” of interdependencies in the datacenter, and the ability of virtualization to make hardware generic leads to on-the-fly movement of work. In addition, virtualization can accomplish the opposite of slicing up servers, instead allowing users to aggregate resources to resemble one big SMP machine.

This latter use of virtualization is not unlike the concept of server fabrics, which Claunch also cited as a disruptive technology. A step beyond blades, server fabrics are most realistic as entirely virtualized blade racks that users can partition to create whatever size or type of systems they need in terms of memory, CPUs, I/O, etc. Not surprisingly, I/O virtualization plays a big role in making server fabrics realize their full potential.

Speaking of the aforementioned cloud computing (because how could a week go by without doing so), Bittman also shared his thoughts on the technology, its current state and how it fits into the RTI concept. RTI, he explained, is all about creating a service-oriented infrastructure where IT is shared across users, divisions, applications and beyond. The ultimate realization of a cloud of computing resources where service requirements go in and services come out — all transparently — fits right into what RTI is looking to accomplish, but for now, believes Bittman, cloud computing is pretty much a way to achieve scale. There is a lot of smoke, he said, but little fire, as current (and recently announced) offerings simply lack the service level management and the policy enforcement capabilities needed for a mature, enterprise-ready solution. However, he said, cloud computing certainly is “pointing toward the future” and certainly is a strategy to be aware of in the years to come.

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Bittman about the current state of cloud computing as it relates to doing it on a grand scale — a la Google — but I believe it will be a reality in the datacenter sooner than some might expect. IBM, for its part, understands that baby steps are necessary, and therefore is planning for its first Blue Cloud offering to be in the form of an IBM BladeCenter — far from a Web-scale collection of servers. What’s more, solutions like Appistry’s Enterprise Application Fabric (or GigaSpaces XAP or DataSynapse FabricServer, to name a few) already do a good job forming “clouds” and allowing for high availability, and they’re improving every day when it comes to policy-based automation and SLAs. Obviously, there is some work to be done along the lines of education and open standards before niche solutions like this become widespread, but I believe the foundation of cloud computing already has been laid.

For those of you interested in scale, I would suggest reading our interview with ScaleOut Software founder and CEO William Bain. Distributed caching solutions are gaining in popularity, but not everybody is aware of all the players in the space; most of us tend to focus on the more well-known vendors like GigaSpaces and Tangosol (now part of Oracle) and GemStone. However, other companies are doing their own things to deliver massive scale and low latency, and Bain does a nice job of differentiating ScaleOut from the others.

I also should point to our special section, featuring two articles relating to the Open Grid Forum’s activities at last month’s SC07 conference. OGF is doing some great work toward achieving interoperability among both enterprise and production grids, and they showcased both initiatives in Reno. As I mentioned when the original announcements were made during the show, the grid market has come a long way by having major middleware and job-scheduling solutions being able to interoperate.

As for the rest of this week’s issue, make sure to check out the following items, as well as any others that might be up your alley: “HealthAlliance Hospital Implements IBM Grid Archiving”; “ObjectWave Launches Data Caching Developer Framework”; “SAS, Sun Launch Datacenter BI Initiative”; “DMTF Creates Open Standard for Virtualization Management”; “Fujitsu, Citrix Cut Cost of Datacenter Scalability”; and “NCSA to Host Workshop on Datacenter Design.”

—–

Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at [email protected].

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!

Dell Integrates Bitfusion for vHPC, GPU ‘Pools’

June 3, 2020

Dell Technologies advanced its hardware virtualization strategy to AI workloads this week with the introduction of capabilities aimed at expanding access to GPU and HPC services via its EMC, VMware and recently acquired Read more…

By George Leopold

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

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…

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

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