HP Exec Sees Future of HPC for the Masses

By Nicole Hemsoth

May 4, 2011

If you pay attention to the vendor buzz these days, HPC might not always be the first word to emerge from a marketing team’s quarters, but cloud certainly is. The same is true at startups, even if they’re technically using high-performance computing resources or application types—and for investors in these startups, the “c” word is as good as gold.

HP’s VP of HPC, Marc Hamilton posted a few thoughts today following the General Catalyst Partner’s Entrepreneurs Forum, which attracted members of over 700 startups. He provided a recap on his numerous conversations with startups at all stages, stating:

“One thing was universal, everyone was working on either mobile or cloud based products. There wasn’t a single startup I talked to that wasn’t creating a product born in the cloud…If you are a startup and want funding, you better be able to explain how your idea will help build the cloud, run on the cloud, or access the cloud.”

While none of this is HPC specific on the surface, the main idea is that this kind of investment in cloud computing more generally will drive progress for cloud-based high-performance computing. Outside of seeing this new potential development, HPC and otherwise, he also provided a few insights into HP’s view of public cloud services and what they mean for his company.

Hamilton was asked a common question for any hardware vendor during a conversation he rehashed. A graduate student asked, “isn’t HP worried that Amazon EC2 will take all your business away in the future?”

This is a question that vendors get rather often, but in general, their responses are often the same as Hamilton’s…

 “I hope more people run HPC in the cloud…it is a lot easier to sell 10 HPC cloud providers buying 10,000 servers each than to sell to 1000 end users buying 100 HPC servers each” He went to state that HPC is perhaps the ultimate expression of HPC for the masses. If even a few of the startups I talked to last night are successful, I’m sure we’ll see a steady stream of HPC cloud advances in the coming years.”

This post gave Hamilton the chance to weigh in on HP’s strategy as far as clouds are concerned; he claims that the more HPC cloud development there is, the better it is for HP. Since the company is a “leading systems provider to most of the top public clouds, we will continue to invest in leading edge, purpose-built servers that continue to push the limits of performance and efficiency with some of the world’s fastest computers like Tokyo Tech’s TSUBMAME2.”

Always interesting to get a personal take on larger vendor intiatives without the heavy-handed sales pitch. We’ve added Hamilton’s ramblings on HPC to our watch list…

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