HP Scales Up for the Scale-Out Datacenter

By By Dennis Barker, GRIDtoday

June 9, 2008

Sure, the race for the White House gets most of the coverage, but HP made its own campaign announcement recently, pledging to reinforce its commitment to constituents in datacenters everywhere. As part of its new “scalable computing initiative,” the company has formed a business unit to serve high-performance, high-demand computing operations. HP promised new products and services to solve the problems particular to large-scale scale-out environments such as clouds and grids, while also delivering the real pork: lower infrastructure costs.

To HP’s credit, it rolled out a new product aimed right at some top concerns of datacenter managers. The new ProLiant BL2x220c blade server is the first to pack two independent servers in one blade. Obviously, this design innovation by itself means a savings in floor space and real estate costs, but for some managers in fast-growing businesses — the ones who’ve figured out they’re going to need space for 200 new servers and the last open corner will hold only 100 — the new design could be an unexpected solution. HP says its new blade also draws less electric power than “similar competing offerings.” With two servers per slot, a single 42U rack can be stuffed with as many as 128 servers, 1,024 CPU cores, and 2TB of memory.

“Customers have told us that their computing environments are running out of floor space and using too much energy — and therefore money — to power their applications,” Ed Turkel, manager of HPC product marketing for the new Scalable Computing & Infrastructure organization at HP, told GRIDtoday. “As a vital part of the business, IT professionals are also looking to cut costs associated with their facilities and infrastructure. Our new scale-out offerings … are designed to take the best advantage of the space and energy available in the datacenter. The BL2x22Oc doubles compute power but takes up half the space of a traditional server blade with 68 percent better performance per watt compared to the Dell PowerEdge M600.”

The new ProLiant is built around Intel’s Xeon 5400 Series Quad Core CPUs or Xeon 5200 Series Dual Core CPUs (up to 2 per server node). HP says a maxed-out 42U rack would deliver 12.3 teraflops while requiring only 8 square feet of floor space. Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and HP’s Integrated Lights-Out 2 remote management and system monitoring software are standard.

As part of its product portfolio, the new HP scalable computing unit also is offering the recently introduced StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System, a highly scalable unit designed to simplify management of multiple petabytes — and a perfect complement to the blade system. “The BL2x220c and StorageWorks 9100 storage system are ideal for scale-out environments that require massive computing power, but aren’t limited to cloud and high performance computing customers,” Turkel says. Their benefits expand to customers in online social communities, financial modeling, digital animation, online gaming, Web search, oil and gas, electronic design automation and biotechnology research, he says.

Smaller Footprints Pay Off

Swedish Medical Center, a three-hospital health care provider in Seattle, has been beta testing the new blade server for about six months. The center’s IT department is using the BL2x220c to run a farm of Citrix servers used for the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system, says Mike Criss, manager of infrastructure and engineering. “We have it in production, and it’s been great,” he says.

The denser blades are arriving at a good time for Swedish. “We are at about 75 percent capacity in our datacenter,” Criss says. “If we continued to add servers at the same rate in the same form factor, we’d run out of space in a year easily. We have some big growth coming in terms of the EMR system, so we’re excited by the design and the density of the new 2x220c blade. It will let us grow without having to make a massive expansion to the datacenter.”

Criss’s only concern with the two-in-one design: “If one server goes out, you have to take them both offline when you pull out the chassis.”

Another user is WETA Digital, a New Zealand-based digital imaging company that did special effects rendering for “Lord of the Rings” and “King Kong.” Animators are globally dispersed, so WETA needed a high-performance system that could handle heavy computational demands and a high volume of extremely large files in real time. Turkel says that by implementing the new BL2x220c, WETA was able to add a significantly higher number of processors into a confined physical footprint while still managing within tight power consumption and cooling requirements.

Along with the new hardware, HP’s scalability group will be offering facilities planning services to help customers design, upgrade, and retrofit datacenters to better utilize space and be more efficient, Turkel says. “These ‘Data Center Transformation services’ are technology tools and strategies to deliver top datacenter initiatives such as automation, energy efficiency, virtualization, consolidation and business continuity.”

“Coming out off the Closet”

Of course, HP is not new to the business of serving customers with big scale-up needs. The new Scalable Computing & Infrastructure organization combines resources from two groups that have been working in those environments, the High-Performance Computing and Scalable Datacenter Infrastructure teams. That’s why HP’s recent announcement of the initiative was “more of a coming out of the closet,” says James Staten, a principal analyst who covers server infrastructures and datacenters for Forrester Research. “It’s HP saying, ‘Hey, for the last three years we’ve been building products for customers in these markets.'”

HP’s Turkel says the new organization is significant because it “will drive development of offerings that address the unique needs of scale-out computing customers resulting from the convergence of high-performance computing and Web 2.0, and the emergence of cloud-based business models.”

“We have cloud domain expertise and dedicated HP resources who have been servicing these customers for years and understand the requirements of scale-out,” he says. “HP is servicing scale-out and cloud-like computing environments for customers with tens of thousands of servers and tens of petabytes of storage installed around the world.”

According to Forrester analyst Staten, however, HP’s new organization is not nearly as significant as the new blade server.

“The real news here is the double-decker server,” Staten says. “That’s innovative design. HP has done something clever, and it’s the kind of thing the Web giants find interesting. They’re interested in compute density. And the big datacenters, they’re definitely concerned about powered and cooled floor space. You get to big labs like the NCSA [National Center for Supercomputer Applications], they’re not going to build a new datacenter. The space they have is the space they have. So HP’s two-in-one blade server would be a big step forward for them.”

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!

Mira Supercomputer Enables Cancer Research Breakthrough

November 11, 2019

Dynamic partial-wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy allows researchers to observe intracellular structures as small as 20 nanometers – smaller than those visible by optical microscopes – in three dimensions at a mill Read more…

By Staff report

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 (quantum annealing) – ion trap technology is edging into the QC 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. That’s the conclusion drawn by the scientists and researcher Read more…

By Jan Rowell

What’s New in HPC Research: Cosmic Magnetism, Cryptanalysis, Car Navigation & More

November 8, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Machine Learning Fuels a Booming HPC Market

November 7, 2019

Enterprise infrastructure investments for training machine learning models have grown more than 50 percent annually over the past two years, and are expected to shortly surpass $10 billion, according to a new market fore Read more…

By George Leopold

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

Atom by Atom, Supercomputers Shed Light on Alloys

November 7, 2019

Alloys are at the heart of human civilization, but developing alloys in the Information Age is much different than it was in the Bronze Age. Trial-by-error smelting has given way to the use of high-performance computing Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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

Cray Debuts ClusterStor E1000 Finishing Remake of Portfolio for ‘Exascale Era’

October 30, 2019

Cray, now owned by HPE, today introduced the ClusterStor E1000 storage platform, which leverages Cray software and mixes hard disk drives (HDD) and flash memory Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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