Shaking the HPC In-Memory Stack

By Nicole Hemsoth

March 3, 2014

Many who have been in HPC for a number of years will remember GridGain, the in-memory computing company that has found success at a number of commercial and academic high performance computing sites since its official launch in 2010—an effort backed with an initial $2.5 million investment, followed by another boost last year with a Series B round of an additional $10 million.

While the company still has firm roots in HPC and is vocal about the advantages of in-memory approaches for scientific applications, it’s using some of its VC funds to look beyond its supercomputing roots with some new hooks inside the platform that has broader enterprise appeal. This is one that takes critical lessons from HPC but ties it together with Java string, a newly-announced open source version for foot-in-the-door movement, and a platform approach to in-memory that teases out high performance computing, streaming data processing, and Hadoop acceleration with claws in several cloud capabilities to boot.

The company’s co-founder, Nikita Ivanov, who has spent a great many of his 20-plus years addressing distributed computing problems, openly admits that one of the reasons they might not have a high number of users in HPC is because of their Java-based approach. However, he argues that this is not a shortcoming on the part of the technology he developed and evolved starting in 2005, it’s a problem with HPC’s inability to get out from under the spell of its love affair with C-based approaches.

Perhaps calling it a “love affair” isn’t fair—it’s more of a relationship borne from legacy roots. As he explains, this is an issue that’s based in the Fortran era. This has spun into multiple libraries, specifically revolving around HPC, that haven’t been able to develop to look more like what he says he’s seeing everywhere else. He says Java is flexible, ridiculously easier to manage, especially when compared to the MPI stacks he dealt with in this past, and more robust. “HPC has decades-old technology that has been refurbished,” says Ivanov, “but even for pure HPC workloads, nothing can touch what we have here based on Java.”

What’s interesting about that statement is that he says in their talks with potential customers across a broad swath—“traditional HPC” and start-up commercial enterprises alike—there is a trending away from workloads that “just HPC” or “just Hadoop.” Rather, systems are juggling a number of different workloads, all of which have been separated with individual software to handle parts of the disparate tasks—and all of which might be able to benefit from in-memory computing.

This is where GridGain’s approach starts to make real sense. Instead of just catering to HPC, as they did in the past, they can offer tools for those workloads that mesh, under the same platform—same piece of overarching software—with their Hadoop accelerator, and/or their streaming real-time data analysis platform. Once you get past the Java roots, Ivanov says, users are capable of trying on different models and approaches in a way that makes sense across the stack. Oftentimes, he says, they’re finding that users don’t have one pure purpose, but seem to be requiring more than one of their in-memory hooks (for instance, streaming and Hadoop).

GridGainStack1

“We’re putting ourselves in the full in-memory platform space since HPC is only a limited view of what we do. We’re not just focused on compute-intensive applications. For data-intensive applications, we’re also focused on in-memory data grids, Hadoop accelerators, and in-memory streaming. Thus if you have small amounts of data but compute-intensive applications, as seen with Monte Carlo applications in financial services, this is a fit—but it’s also a fit when dealing with a data warehouse using our in-memory data grid approach.” Ivanov says they’re not carving out HPC, rather, they’re expanding the definition to be more in line with the wider range of what they do.

GridGain’s primary growth vertical is financial services, which the company says is a perfect fit in terms of their need for real-time in-memory approaches to handle risk. According to the company’s CEO, Abe Kleinfeld, their work with one of the top banks in Russia, Sperbank, demonstrates how their high performance computing roots have fed into some wider appeal. The Russian financial institution, which marks GridGain’s largest use case, is using the company to handle its real-time risk analysis across its global trade portfolio. When the first did a test of GridGain’s capabilities, Kleinfeld says they were able to manage over a billion transactions per second across 10 standard Dell blades sporting 96 GB of memory per blade. In other words, as he noted, “they were able to get a billion transactions per second for under $25,000 of hardware.”

Kleinfeld says they will likely reach a $3.5 million target this year, powered by taking their platform approach open source, presumably into more shops and deeper into some potential OEM and other partnerships. “The time is ripe for in-memory computing because the economics of it have never been better—it makes almost no sense to do disk-based computing. Besides,” he said, “the world is looking to build on open standards, why would anyone want to be locked into a box or buy several different products that do different things when they get an open platform for a range of in-memory computing?”

gridgainopen

As one might imagine, the open source version isn’t a community service. While all of the legs of GridGain’s in-memory platform are available for a try-on, the real robust features for putting this into mission-critical production are behind a wall.

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!

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurr Read more…

By Doug Black

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia CEO Predicts AI ‘Cambrian Explosion’

May 25, 2017

The processing power and cloud access to developer tools used to train machine-learning models are making artificial intelligence ubiquitous across computing pl Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a 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 ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is 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 w 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 Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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 networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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 Read more…

By John Russell

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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