Your Datacenter Makeover: Have Someone Else Do It

By Dennis Barker

August 17, 2008

Running for the office of Springfield sanitation commissioner, Homer Simpson promised that his crews wouldn’t just pick up the trash, they’d wash cars and provide any other personal domestic service citizens wanted. His successful campaign slogan: “Can’t someone else do it?”

Maybe you can imagine an IT manager reacting with that question when he’s told, again, he has got to turn the datacenter from a cost sink into a strategic business advantage. Rebuilding systems to meet the demands of specific business goals or service levels and driving down real-estate and energy costs sounds like a priority, but it can end up low on the to-do list, always a few notches under “keep things running.” A rethinking and overhauling of infrastructure is the kind of massive task where someone else doing it makes the most sense, especially with the cost of building, powering, and cooling datacenters rising at record rates. You want to get it right.

“A lot of firms are optimizing their datacenters in the wrong way,” says Tony Bishop, co-founder and CEO of Adaptivity, a company that helps organizations bring IT strategies, architectures, and operating models in line with business goals. “They’re designing from the bottom up, then trying to manage it. They look at the facility, the floor space, the power lines, then try to guesstimate what the growth will be. Then they organize the floor based on grouping resources by type: servers here, storage here, firewalls over there. They’re organizing by what works best on the floor, not what works best for the business. Instead, you’ve got to be thinking that sales applications need market data and tools to be near each other because of the physics of data proximity. You’ve got to be business-process-driven rather than resource-driven.”

Formerly chief architect in Wachovia’s Corporate Investment Banking Technology Group, where he led a team that built a utility-computing infrastructure, Bishop has walked the walk of designing a datacenter around business objectives.
 
Adaptivity and partner DataSynapse propose to be that “someone else” who will come in and figure out how to turn your IT systems into a resource no one even notices because it handles each transaction as if it were the most important transaction in the pipe. (The two have worked together before, and Adaptivity uses DataSynapse technology in its solutions, but earlier this month announced an official joint services agreement.) They have a shared concept of what the ideal core of IT services ought to be, and they call it the Next Generation Datacenter (NGDC). They say that with their methodologies, software technology, and combined know-how, they can transform a datacenter into one that’s flexible enough to meet changing business demands while reducing complexity, using fewer resources, and not wrecking the budget.

“The primary pain we see is that datacenters are spending a growing percentage of the IT budget, but it’s inefficient spending due to poor capacity planning,” says Joe Schwartz, chief marketing officer at DataSynapse. A McKinsey study found that average server utilization among datacenters studied was a sad 6 percent, and facility utilization was 56 percent. Naturally, this results in all sorts of unnecessary complexity, but the biggest drag it causes is on profitability.

The NGDC is intended to avoid such inefficiencies by being built from scratch to meet business demands; bring the experts in to study those demands, then build accordingly. One way to think of the NGDC concept is datacenter as a service.

“We tailor the infrastructure so that it operates as a service utility,” Bishop says. “We develop a demand-based model, where services — processing, storage, and so on — are allocated as needed and shut down when no longer needed. With our approach, you end up with a real-time, demand-based utility. That’s the most efficient way to operate. Our methodologies, the technologies we implement, DataSynapse’s application management technology, it’s all aimed at letting customers deploy a utility infrastructure.”

What’s in the NGDC

“We’ve created methodologies and templates for building an adaptive datacenter,” Bishop says. “Think of it like a franchise. You’re going to have everything you need. Templates, methods, processes, tools to map your business models to infrastructure. The technology to distribute work and dynamically allocate resources. Processing-specific ‘ensembles’ that guarantee low latency and high throughput. Optimized networking services. The components needed to change your infrastructure so it’s more responsive and efficient are here.”

The NGDC architecture incorporates offerings from both companies. For example, DataSynapse’s Dynamic Application Service Management software platform for delivering and optimizing scalable enterprise-class application services. Adaptivity’s Fit for Purpose Design framework “takes business-driven workloads and resource consumption behaviors and encapsulates them in service execution contracts,” Bishop says. DataSynapse’s orchestration model “takes those policies and makes sure they execute.” Workloads are sent to Processing Execution Destinations, “self-contained logical fabrics housed in a single container footprint and interconnected with high-speed fabrics.” This is the hardware stuff: multicore processors, I/O (10GigE, Fiber Channel, Infiniband), storage, memory, networking gear, in a cooled container. Legacy apps would be migrated to these PEDs. The NGDC reference architecture also includes technology from third parties, including Cisco and VMware.

“We’re essentially offering a datacenter in a box,” Schwartz says. “It’s geared toward your business applications, optimized for your specific types of applications and workloads. You can plug-and-play PEDs based on your workload and application mix.”

Adaptivity and DataSynapse offer a 10-part program to help organizations implement an NGDC. It’s aimed at defining services and quality levels and the roadmap for getting there. Through workshops and iterative sessions, “we’ll help design the right infrastructure,” Schwartz says. “We take a look at your applications today, classify them, study workloads, and then help you design your datacenter so you can move apps to available processing units when they need to execute. Ultimately, you can manage your datacenter as a virtual resource pool that you allocate to applications as needed.”

Adaptivity and DataSynapse have most of their customers in the financial world, where they’ve been delivering the benefits promised by the NGDC. Bishop tells of one Adaptivity customer “where ripping and replacing hardware translated to one-third the footprint, and they were able to do 50 times that volume in that smaller datacenter. We were able to identify four types of processing patterns, and the workloads associated with those. Once we looked top-down and understood the demand, how things were consumed, we were able to use DataSynapse technology to dynamically match workloads to resources.” In another case, by re-orchestrating workloads, they were able to reduce three racks to one small cluster. “When you get rid of three racks of big Sun SMP machines, that’s a good chunk of money you can save,” Bishop says.

If phrases like “business process alignment” and “business value” seem like things that happen in some misty, far-off time, what Adaptivity and Data Synapse are promising with their approach can be put very plainly. “Lower cost of transactions is our goal,” Bishop says.

“Volumes of content are exploding. Equipment is getting increasingly dense. People are trying to transfer labor into automation — productivity comes from automation, but that automation has to go somewhere. That somewhere is the datacenter. As a result, datacenters are growing while their costs are going to double over the next five to 10 years, and that ends up consuming the entire IT budget. How can you innovate if you can’t get this strategy under control?”

Maybe have someone else do it?

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 Take to the Solar Winds

June 5, 2020

The whims of the solar winds – charged particles flowing from the Sun’s atmosphere – can interfere with systems that are now crucial for modern life, such as satellites and GPS services – but these winds can be d Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC in O&G: Deep Sea Drilling – What Happens Now   

June 4, 2020

At the beginning of March I attended the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. That seems a long time ago now. It’s a great event where oil and gas specialists join with compute veterans and the discussion tell Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

NCSA Wades into Post-Blue Waters Era with Delta Supercomputer

June 3, 2020

NSF has awarded the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) $10 million for its next supercomputer - named Delta – “which will kick-start NCSA’s next generation of supercomputers post-Blue Waters,” Read more…

By John Russell

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

AWS Solution Channel

Join AWS, Univa and Intel for This Informative Session!

Event Date: June 18, 2020

More enterprises than ever are turning to HPC cloud computing. Whether you’re just getting started, or more mature in your use of cloud, this HPC Cloud webinar is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insights and knowledge to help accelerate your HPC cloud projects. Read more…

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

NCSA Wades into Post-Blue Waters Era with Delta Supercomputer

June 3, 2020

NSF has awarded the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) $10 million for its next supercomputer - named Delta – “which will kick-start NCS Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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