Cray Completes ClusterStor Deal, Sunsets Sonexion Brand

By Tiffany Trader

September 25, 2017

Having today completed the transaction and strategic partnership with Seagate announced back in July, Cray is now home to the ClusterStor line and will be sunsetting the Sonexion brand. This is not technically an acquisition; the ClusterStor assets are transferring from Seagate to Cray (minus the Seagate ClusterStor IBM Spectrum Scale product) and Cray is taking over support and maintenance for the entire ClusterStor base.

Cray is adding approximately 130 Seagate employees and all of the ClusterStor customers, said John Howarth, vice president of storage at Cray. Through its Sonexion brand that is being discontinued, the supercomputing company had roughly 50 percent of the ClusterStor install base.

Today Cray officially takes over development, support, manufacturing and sales of the all the Lustre-based ClusterStor products — ClusterStor L300, the next-generation ClusterStor L300N and the ClusterStor SL220. The G-series Spectrum Scale products will not be part of the transferred assets.

“IBM is changing their model so they declined to allow us to do that,” Howarth told HPCwire. “It’s disappointing because it’s a finished product and it’s always good to get a new finished product, but life will go on without it.” Cray will provide support for existing ClusterStor Spectrum Scale (formerly GPFS) installations.

“The nice thing is we’re getting brand new products,” said Howarth. “The Seagate L300N is just going to GA right now, so we’re getting a brand new fresh set of products. The first thing we’re going to do with the Seagate team when they all get on board on Monday [Sept. 25] is sit down and look hard at where we’re at and then we’re going to decide, do we do another turn of the crank on the current architecture or do we go and build next generation architectures and move forward that way.”

Cray has a four year supply agreement with Seagate to procure the drives, containers, controllers and other technology components that make up ClusterStor, “at good prices,” according to Howarth.

Howarth said that with some 90 engineers coming into the storage group, they have the critical mass to develop some new products, and he expects flash to factor in prominently.

“Flash has already moved in pretty heavily into the commercial world; we think it’s now time for it to start happening in HPC,” he shared.

“The ClusterStor Nytro product is really a first step at that. We’ve got DataWarp, IME from DDN, and in terms of a mainstream product, the ClusterStor 300N is probably the first pretty standard HPC product that will make heavy use of flash.

“We think over the next three to five years flash is going to be pretty mainstream. Three or four years from now, very few acquisitions will have servers talking directly to hard drives, maybe doing back store, but they’re too slow.”

Under Cray, Segate’s Nytro I/O manager will go forward as 300NXD. The software has caching and prefetch capability for Lustre to improve small file handling. “Lustre is a great file system if you’re doing a terabyte per second of very large files, but if you’re trying to write 500 million little tiny files, you can’t do it any worse than with Lustre,” Howarth said, pointing out Lustre’s well-known pain point. “It does not do small files well and its metadata operations get swamped.”

“Nytro software,” he explained, “writes the small writes to SSDs and then it bundles them in the background and writes them out as single big writes to the back-end Lustre file system so it’s a huge improvement in the application profile of the ClusterStor and Lustre and it will make it much easier for customers to manage their systems and they will spend a lot less time worrying about what kind of I/O is my system doing.”

The L300N product provides 16 GB/sec per scalable storage unit (SSU) and 112 GB/sec per rack, which Howarth deems “industry-leading in terms of performance on a consistent basis.”

Improving ClusterStor robustness will continue to be a focus at Cray. “One of the things we did in partnership with Seagate to help improve the robustness was as we ran these great big systems through our build systems,” Howarth said. “We hooked the Sonexion up to it and we drove it flat out in order to try to find the problems. Because it’s one thing trying to find issues with a small system, it’s another thing when it’s running at 99.9 percent capability and you start breaking things on it. If you talk to any customers of Cray’s and Seagate’s they will tell you that over the last couple of years they’ve seen a marked improvement in the robustness of the system and so our intention is to continue that work.

“Cray is good at building big systems that work and so we can intend to install that discipline in the Seagate employees that are coming over so that we’ll be doing more betas, we’ll be doing more testing, we want to get on regular cadence for maintenance releases and things like that. These are [best practices] Cray has built over the years that we want to impart on the ClusterStor customers to make their lives better.”

Cray also has more than 20 ClusterStor partners and resellers and that it will support with “a comprehensive service toolkit, shorter escalation path to development, and a single knowledge base.”

“We’re working hard to get the channel folks on board and make sure the people that were reselling ClusterStor feel comfortable and that we’ll be a good partner for them like Seagate was,” said Howarth.

On Cray’s most recent earnings call, CEO Peter Ungaro observed that the HPC storage market is outperforming the overall supercomputing market.

According to market analyst Hyperion Research’s latest numbers, global HPC external storage revenues will grow 7.8 percent over the 2016-2021 timeframe to $6.3 billion, while HPC server sales, by comparison, will grow 5.8 percent to $14.8 billion.

“Storage is the fastest-growing part of the expanding HPC market and [with ClusterStor] Cray is positioned to be an even more important player in the storage market,” said Steve Conway, senior vice president of research at Hyperion.

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!

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Net Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Researchers Test AI Traffic Monitoring Tool in Austin

December 13, 2017

Traffic jams and mishaps are often painful and sometimes dangerous facts of life. At this week’s IEEE International Conference on Big Data being held in Boston, researchers from TACC and colleagues will present a new Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in what has become an overwhelmingly two-socket landscape in the d Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercializ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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