The Week in Review

By John E. West

July 24, 2008

Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week’s HPC news stream as reported at insideHPC.com and HPCwire.

>>10 words and a link

IBM applies for patent on grid computing;
http://ianfoster.typepad.com/blog/2008/07/those-clever-gu.html

10 years from ASP to the cloud;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/20/the-ten-years-between-asp-and-the-cloud/

Purdue’s 1,000 watt per square centimeter cooling revolution;
http://www.purdue.edu/UNS/x/2008b/080701MudawarMicrojets.html

GigaOM’s list of 5 multicore companies to watch;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/20/gigaom-5-multicore-companies-to-watch/

GPU research roundtable;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/22/research-roundtable-on-gpus/

UnivaUD announces Open HPC Management Interoperability Project;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/22/univauds-ohmi-project/

Argonne gets a vis upgrade;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/23/argonnes-vis-upgrade/

Threading Building Blocks 2.1 announced at OSCON;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/23/new-version-of-threading-building-blocks-available/

Star-P adds support for LSF, ICE;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/23/star-p-adds-support-for-lsf-ice/

Cilk Arts releases free multicore e-book;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/23/new-multicore-e-book/

Brocade acquires Foundry Networks;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/23/brocade-acquires-foundry/

>>Intel and AMD: sunshine and the big suck

First, the bad news. We reported last week on news that AMD would take $900M in charges in Q2. That turns out to have undershot the mark a bit:

In the second quarter of 2008, AMD reported a net loss of $1.189 billion, or $1.96 per share. For continuing operations, the second quarter loss was $269 million, or $0.44 per share, and the operating loss was $143 million. The results for continuing operations include a net favorable impact of $97 million, or $0.16 per share as described in the table below. Loss from discontinued operations was $920 million, or $1.52 a share, including asset impairment charges of $876 million, or $1.44 a share.

Well, what’s $269M between friends? In case you’re wondering, that’s on revenues of $1.35B. $876M of this is a write down on ATI — another one – bringing the total write downs on ATI to $2.2B, or almost 41 percent of the total amount AMD paid for ATI in the first place.

If you’re wondering why the difference between $269M loss and the reported $143M operating loss – AMD sold some old equipment. The same day that AMD announced these performance numbers, they fired Hector Ruiz and replaced him with former COO Dirk Meyer:

AMD today announced that its board of directors elected President and COO Dirk Meyer as the company’s chief executive officer. Meyer succeeds Hector Ruiz, who will become executive chairman of AMD and chair of the board of directors. As executive chairman, Ruiz will ensure a smooth executive leadership transition, focus on driving the company’s asset smart strategy to completion, and assist with high-level government and strategic partner relations.

AnandTech had this to say about that:

Hector’s replacement is Dirk Meyer, AMD’s current president and COO. Dirk is seen as more of a technical man and less of a business man than Hector, which may be what the company needs right now. He’s credited with the success of AMD’s earlier Athlon processors, and interestingly has been with AMD several years longer than Hector has.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the tracks, Intel made a hill of money in Q2 and declared a dividend — take that, AMD:

Intel Corporation today announced record second-quarter revenue of $9.5 billion, operating income of $2.3 billion, net income of $1.6 billion and earnings per share (EPS) of 28 cents.

and

Intel Corporation’s board of directors has declared a 14 cents per share quarterly dividend on the company’s common stock. The dividend will be payable on September 1, 2008 to stockholders of record on August 7, 2008.

>>Two more datacenters in a can

First Sun, then Rackable introduced datacenters in a can. Then Verari, and Google patented the idea of a datacenter in a shipping container. And now we have two more entrants into this “market.”

Ashlee Vance reported on IBM’s compute-heavy trailer in mid June:

IBM too has embraced the container idea via what it’s calling Portable Modular Data Centers (PMDCs). Whereas most of the competitors offer a single container option, IBM lets customers pick from three systems — a 20 foot unit, a 40 foot unit and a double-wide 40 foot unit. In addition, IBM can slot hardware from just about any vendor into the containers, according to Steve Sams, an IBM VP.

And now HP joins the summer of trailer love:

HP’s Performance Optimised Datacentre, or POD, will be available in the US by the end of the third quarter and worldwide a few months after that, the company said Wednesday.


The HP POD will accommodate 1,800 watts per square foot, compared to about 250 watts per square foot in a normal data centre, said Steve Cumings, director of infrastructure with HP’s Scalable Computing and Infrastructure group.

HP’s 40-foot POD will contain 22 50u server racks and be able to house up to 1,100 1u servers or 12,000 large form-factor hard drives, for a total 12 petabytes of storage, Cumings said. HP will be able to ship the products to customers six weeks after they are ordered, he said.

(Pics of the POD on the move.)

ComputerWorldUK has a couple great lines in its HP article (link above):

It sounds like a gimmick, but proponents say the portable datacentres can solve real problems.

Yeah, it sounds like a gimmick. The HP exec interviewed for the article expects sales to be “very low.” Outstanding. They did manage to dig up something positive to say:

Microsoft is a big fan: It has said it plans to install more than 200 compact data centres on the ground floor of a new facility in Chicago. It hasn’t said yet which vendor will provide them.

Sun’s early customers include Hansen Transmissions, a Belgian industrial manufacturer, and Mobile TeleSystems, the Russian mobile operator. The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California bought two and has posted a white paper and time-lapse videos showing delivery of the first.

—–

John West is part of the team that summarizes the headlines in HPC news every day at insideHPC.com. You can contact him at [email protected].

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