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!

NSF Extends Access to Its Leadership Systems Blue Waters & Frontera

December 14, 2018

The National Science Foundation is seeking supplemental requests for access on its leadership-class computers Blue Waters and Frontera to enable "fundamental science and engineering research that would otherwise not be p Read more…

By Staff

CFD on ORNL’s Titan Simulates Cleaner, Low-MPG ‘Opposed Piston’ Engine

December 13, 2018

Pinnacle Engines is out to substantially improve vehicle gasoline efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions with a new motor based on an “opposed piston” design that the company hopes will be widely adopted while t Read more…

By Doug Black

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC) is procuring from Atos in two phases over the next year-an Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

4 Ways AI Analytics Projects Fail — and How to Succeed

“How do I de-risk my AI-driven analytics projects?” This is a common question for organizations ready to modernize their analytics portfolio. Here are four ways AI analytics projects fail—and how you can ensure success. Read more…

Nvidia Leads Alpha MLPerf Benchmarking Round

December 12, 2018

Seven months after the launch of its AI benchmarking suite, the MLPerf consortium is releasing the first round of results based on submissions from Nvidia, Google and Intel. Of the seven benchmarks encompassed in version Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Leads Alpha MLPerf Benchmarking Round

December 12, 2018

Seven months after the launch of its AI benchmarking suite, the MLPerf consortium is releasing the first round of results based on submissions from Nvidia, Goog Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM, Nvidia in AI Data Pipeline, Processing, Storage Union

December 11, 2018

IBM and Nvidia today announced a new turnkey AI solution that combines IBM Spectrum Scale scale-out file storage with Nvidia’s GPU-based DGX-1 AI server to pr Read more…

By Doug Black

Mellanox Uses Univa to Extend Silicon Design HPC Operation to Azure

December 11, 2018

Call it a corollary to Murphy’s Law: When a system is most in demand, when end users are most dependent on the system performing as required, when it’s crunch time – that’s when the system is most likely to blow up. Or make you wait in line to use it. Read more…

By Doug Black

Topology Can Help Us Find Patterns in Weather

December 6, 2018

Topology--the study of shapes--seems to be all the rage. You could even say that data has shape, and shape matters. Shapes are comfortable and familiar concepts, so it is intriguing to see that many applications are being recast to use topology. For instance, looking for weather and climate patterns. Read more…

By James Reinders

Zettascale by 2035? China Thinks So

December 6, 2018

Exascale machines (of at least a 1 exaflops peak) are anticipated to arrive by around 2020, a few years behind original predictions; and given extreme-scale performance challenges are not getting any easier, it makes sense that researchers are already looking ahead to the next big 1,000x performance goal post: zettascale computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Robust Quantum Computers Still a Decade Away, Says Nat’l Academies Report

December 5, 2018

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine yesterday released a report – Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects – whose optimism about Read more…

By John Russell

Revisiting the 2008 Exascale Computing Study at SC18

November 29, 2018

A report published a decade ago conveyed the results of a study aimed at determining if it were possible to achieve 1000X the computational power of the the Read more…

By Scott Gibson

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

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

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

The Convergence of Big Data and Extreme-Scale HPC

August 31, 2018

As we are heading towards extreme-scale HPC coupled with data intensive analytics like machine learning, the necessary integration of big data and HPC is a curr Read more…

By Rob Farber

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