Cloud is History: The Sum of Trust

By Scott Clark

July 5, 2010

To continue where we left off with the last blog, this time we are focusing the discussion around trust. In considering cloud, this is probably the largest barrier we will encounter.

If we look at history, the issues associated with trusting someone else to perform what we view as a critical element of our business has been faced and successfully addressed in the past. Semiconductor companies had to have the entire process of manufacturing under their direct oversight and control because portions of that process were considered business differentiating and proprietary, and close coupling between design process and manufacturing process were required for successful ASIC development (lots of iterative, back and forth process). As time marched on, capacity needs increased, complexity climbed, the cost increased with each of those dynamics, creating an ever higher barrier to entry for maintaining existing or creating new fabrication facilities. In the mid 1980’s, we witnessed the birth of the first foundry, with TSMC coming onto the scene to create a differentiated business model (Fabless Semiconductor), where engineering companies could focus on just the process of design, and then hand off their designs off to TSMC to be manufactured. The Fabless Semiconductor Industry is a $50B market today, and growing.

So, are the issues we face with datacenters today any different? Not really, just a slight different view of the same picture. The dynamics are the same: a non-linear cost increase due to capacity and complexity increases is the driver for re-evaluating the current position. The function is considered critical, and sometimes differentiating and/or proprietary to the business, and is therefore internally maintained at present. And finally, the function deals directly with the core product of the company, therefore security is a paramount concern. What we witnessed with the fabrication facilities is that many companies were able to realize the cost benefits of outsourcing that function without damaging the business, so we should be able to follow that model to realize the cost benefits that cloud computing offers with respect to the datacenter. And we even have a recipe for success to look and use as a template for what to do and how to do it.

 What customers of cloud will be looking for from service providers is multi-faceted:

  • Budget control – making sure they can continue to do the right thing for their company from a cost perspective and continue to come up with creative ways to keep budgets under control. This includes making sure they do not get locked into exclusive relationships, so they need to make sure that there are multiple vendor options so that there can be competition. In the same light, they need to make sure that the solution they consume is standards based, so that moving to another provider is simple, straight forward, and not costly.
  • Do it my way – points to customer intimacy. The consumer company must understand the solution they are leveraging and the supplier must provide the solution in such a way that it makes sense to the customer. This sounds obvious, but in many cases, companies have been held hostage even by their own internal IT organizations through confusing terminology, overly complex descriptions of solutions, and territorial behavior. The customer should understand the solution on their terms, which implies that the service provider must intimately understand the customer’s core business. Customers should get the services and solution they need, which is something specific to their business, not something bootstrapped from another industry or something built for a different or generic purpose. And it is not sufficient to have really smart technology people on staff, and have the customer tell the service provider exactly what they need so the supplier can do the right thing – many times the customer doesn’t know what they need, they just want it to work right. That is why this needs to be domain specific, performed by domain experts in the customer’s space.
  • Honesty – do I believe you? The customer needs to have faith and confidence that the supplier has the best interest of the consumer as a driver. Understanding intent and understanding positive behavioral characteristics as compared to negative ones. Any competitive or adversarial behavior will be the tip that trust should be called into question.
  • Focus on my business, not yours (counter-intuitive concept). This is really the crux of the issue. If the customer can really believe that the supplier is looking out for customer interests first, and not only trying to tell the customer whatever they think they want to hear, only then will the customer allow the supplier to absorb responsibility from them for their infrastructure to help make them successful. This is key because if the customer has to continue to drive success and own all the responsibility, then nothing has really changed, and it is probably easier for the customer to continue keeping all the resource in-house where they have much more direct control over hire/fire, retention, resource caliber, etc.

As a result, cloud service providers will need to demonstrate many things in order to establish trustworthiness. From an intent standpoint, make sure the focus is on the end customer. In the EDA space, that would be the engineer. Understand the customer’s business to the point that you can help them do their job. This implies an intimate understanding of the tools, what they do, how they work, and where they fit as well as business model, economic drivers, and a solid grasp of the industry dynamics. Also, the supplier should maintain a long term view (strategic) in addition to a short term perspective (tactical). Always do the right thing now, but how solutions are designed to scale into the future can have significant cost impacts over time. Finally, it should always be relationship focused. The ability to judge trustworthiness is measured over time, and your every action defines the integrity and character of your organization.

The behavior portion for the supplier is fairly straightforward. Deal with customers in a transparent, honest fashion. Don’t try to hide things, don’t try to play the poker game of masking your agenda, or worrying about what you’re leaving on the table, masking how much anyone is getting, trying to optimize one variable in the whole equation (profit/one sided benefit/etc.). Don’t create win / lose scenarios and don’t try to get some undeserved benefit. Exchanges should always be “appropriate” and fair, avoid adversarial relationship development. If relationship turns adversarial, be open to walking away. Customers need to be trained how to conduct themselves in a trustworthy manner as well as service providers, and have an equal hand in creating a trusting relationship. Make sure your relationships are cooperative, and not competitive. If you compete with your customers about who is smarter or who is the better negotiator, or only believing a deal is good if you win and the customer loses, you are building a bomb, not a partnership.

There is an equal amount of responsibility on the consumer side of the equation in order to get a partner. From an intent standpoint the customer should make sure the focus is on the business problem (not departmental issues, not policy issues, not contract issues, etc.), and help the service provider navigate the customer internal process in order to keep the focus on the business problem. The customer also needs to make sure there is strong communication with regard to intended future direction for the company to ensure that plans are strategic and not only focused only on the present. The concept of relationship implies a mutual dependence, and it is recognized that interdependence creates risk/exposure, but also accomplishes the desired efficiencies, economies of scale, superior solutions, and optimizes economic benefit.

Behaviorally, the customer should also demonstrate transparency and honesty, not hiding information from the provider. Create an environment where the supplier can feel safe being open and honest. The customer wants to understand that they are not being taken advantage of, and that can happen in good ways or bad ways. We will talk more about the good ways in our next blog on organization changes. The good way is to have done all the homework necessary to know roughly what the right answer looks like prior to getting that answer (whether price, technical solution, or technology direction). There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the development of instincts. The wrong answer, adversarial behavior – just pounding vendors for a better price or a better discount or more resources so that you feel you got a deal, without any comprehension of what an appropriate price or solution looks like, will have fatal results for trust and your relationship with your vendors. Competitive or adversarial behavior will result in an adversarial response, which causes a lack of honesty leading to no trust.

You should not worry about “am I getting a better deal than anyone else in the world” or masking a lack of understanding by treating vendor brutally. Do your homework, know how much something is worth, and make sure you are getting an appropriate price and an appropriate solution. Don’t try to optimize one variable in the whole equation (overly custom for no benefit, only focus on cost, etc.) and don’t create a win / lose scenarios or expect to get something undeserved. Everyone needs to care about the health of the ecosystem. Lack of trust means that you will not get good deals or appropriate solutions for the long run.

In conclusion, businesses should focus on the core competency of the business. All non-core portions of the business should be considered for outsource provided good business practices. If there exists a trustworthy, cost effective, customer focused provider of non-core, non-strategically differentiated functions of the business, those providers should be patronized. If not, create them. Examples of this would be Global Foundries spin off from AMD, Jazz Semiconductor spin off from Conexant, etc. Outsource needs to be structured and contracted in such a way that it facilitates trustworthiness. Make sure the solutions can be moved to alternate provider without significant modification or cost. Avoid getting committed to vendor locked-in solutions (hardware, software, people, or process). Make sure the solution is standards based and non-proprietary. Make sure that the solution can take advantage of new innovations immediately. Ensure that you negotiate built in growth ramps for normal business evolution while maintaining flat (predictable) cost to the business (budget control). And make sure the solution scales with the business use case (up or down).

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!

Advancing Modular Supercomputing with DEEP and DEEP-ER Architectures

February 24, 2017

Knowing that the jump to exascale will require novel architectural approaches capable of delivering dramatic efficiency and performance gains, researchers around the world are hard at work on next-generation HPC systems. Read more…

By Sean Thielen

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Feb. 23, 2017)

February 23, 2017

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

HPE Server Shows Low Latency on STAC-N1 Test

February 22, 2017

The performance of trade and match servers can be a critical differentiator for financial trading houses. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Financial Update (Feb. 2017)

February 22, 2017

In this recurring feature, we’ll provide you with financial highlights from companies in the HPC industry. Check back in regularly for an updated list with the most pertinent fiscal information. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Manufacturers Reaping the Benefits of Remote Visualization

Today’s manufacturers are operating in an ever-changing atmosphere, and finding new ways to boost productivity has never been more vital.

This is why manufacturers are ramping up their investments in high performance computing (HPC), a trend which has helped give rise to the “connected factory” and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts that are proliferating throughout the industry today. Read more…

Rethinking HPC Platforms for ‘Second Gen’ Applications

February 22, 2017

Just what constitutes HPC and how best to support it is a keen topic currently. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

ExxonMobil, NCSA, Cray Scale Reservoir Simulation to 700,000+ Processors

February 17, 2017

In a scaling breakthrough for oil and gas discovery, ExxonMobil geoscientists report they have harnessed the power of 717,000 processors – the equivalent of 22,000 32-processor computers – to run complex oil and gas reservoir simulation models. Read more…

By Doug Black

Advancing Modular Supercomputing with DEEP and DEEP-ER Architectures

February 24, 2017

Knowing that the jump to exascale will require novel architectural approaches capable of delivering dramatic efficiency and performance gains, researchers around the world are hard at work on next-generation HPC systems. Read more…

By Sean Thielen

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

By Doug Black

Azure Edges AWS in Linpack Benchmark Study

February 15, 2017

The “when will clouds be ready for HPC” question has ebbed and flowed for years. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

What Knights Landing Is Not

June 18, 2016

As we get ready to launch the newest member of the Intel Xeon Phi family, code named Knights Landing, it is natural that there be some questions and potentially some confusion. Read more…

By James Reinders, Intel

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This