HPC Cloud on a Roll; Pure Play High Performance Storage Dips

By Doug Black

June 28, 2018

HPC in the cloud is one of those “insanely great” ideas that, failing to fire, year after year recedes before our expectations. Until, that is, last year, according to industry watcher Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research, which he said was a “break-out year” for HPC in the cloud.

At Intersect360’s annual HPC market update at ISC18 in Frankfurt yesterday, Snell also stated that:

  • Commercial sectors represent more than 55 percent of 2017 HPC technology revenues.
  • Pure-play high performance storage had an off year as IT planners showed a preference for integrated storage within server offerings.
  • As the trend of “technology disaggregation” (Snell’s phrase for the rapid proliferation of non-x86 accelerators) continued apace, risk-averse buyers are increasingly concerned that today’s advanced scale technology purchasers may not fit tomorrow’s workloads; the upshot, according to Snell, is a user community yearning for vendors that deliver a diversity of technology solutions and sound guidance for their implementations.

The total worldwide HPC market (servers, storage, software, etc.) revenues, according to Intersect360, reached $35.4 billion in 2017, up 1.6 percent from 2016. Curiously, that anemic growth number contradicts the overall positive indicators from the “demand-side” (buyers). The reason, Snell said, is that a significant amount of customer budgets was spent on increases in power and cooling costs at commercial sites. “Facility spending was consuming a larger portion of budgets,” he said, “and not all of the demand-side budget increase made it out into the market in terms of products and services.”

Intersect360 found HPE to be the top HPC server provider, followed closely by Dell EMC. In fact, those two companies had positive years in 2017, extending their market leadership positions. Meanwhile, Cray and IBM had down years despite the latter having delivered the world’s first- and third-most powerful supercomputers.

“IBM fell back a little bit,” Snell said. “This has been disappointing. It’s a company having a great show at ISC here. There’s the new Top500 list with ‘Summit’ and ‘Sierra’ numbers one and three…. But in 2017 they did not have good traction with the Power9 servers, they’re going to really need to get that going and figure out how to execute in this environment.”

In a conversation after his presentation, Snell said he believes IBM emphasizes AI as the target workload for its high end servers – at the expense of their broader HPC applicability.

“IBM has a lot of the right pieces in place to gain market share across high performance computing, with not only their own products but all their partnerships,” he said. “They have under-performed so far in their Power division against the (potential) of what they’re capable of doing. They could turn that around, but it would be a matter of strategically placing emphasis on HPC again and not just AI. They’re clearly weighting their massaging toward AI.” He said that at a recent IBM conference, Big Blue talked about even Sierra and Summit, built for the U.S. national labs, as AI systems.

“There’s a tremendous potential for Summit and Sierra to have a ripple effect for selling more Power9-GPU-InfiniBand systems across the HPC landscape,” he said, “but IBM would have to have an intentional strategy to go do that, instead of just talking about AI.”

Addison Snell at ISC18

Having said that, machine learning is a growing aspect of the HPC firmament. By Intersect360’s calculation, there was roughly $4.5 billion in dedicated machine learning spending worldwide last year, “but 95 percent is coming from the hyperscale market, where you have the Googles, Facebooks and Amazons of the world.”

Of the remaining measurable spending on ML, most is happening in financial services, which Snell said is aggressively adopting AI.

“This is the vertical furthest ahead in HPC in terms of real use cases for dedicated spending for deep learning,” said Snell. “We love talking about self-driving cars and personalized medicine. But I promise you’re going to have personalized interest rates long before you have personalized medicine. That is where the money is, and it’s the areas that have money in them, like finance, advertising, and retail, and hyperscale, that are driving a lot more of the immediate investment in machine learning.”

The hot growth segment of the industry in 2017 was cloud HPC. Though starting from a relatively small base, HPC in the cloud grew by 44 percent, to $1.1 billion, according to Intersect360, exceeding the billion-dollar mark for the first time.

“HPC cloud computing really had a break-out year,” Snell said, “which we’ve been waiting for.” Intersect360 expects cloud HPC to continue its hot pace, reaching $2 billion next year and $3 billion in 2022.

This growth stems from two factors, Snell said: first, machine learning, and the movement of machine learning application to the cloud. “The ML types of applications have a great deal of cloud affinity, and have their roots in the hyperscale segment, so it’s natural to migrate those.”

Second and more important, Snell said: the maturation of licensing models, particularly for ISV codes in the high performance computing space. “It got easier in 2017 to migrate your Abacus license to the cloud, or Fluent, and that caused a lot of the spike for the higher value components, like SaaS.”

Meanwhile, high performance storage revenues were weak relative to server spending, Snell said, “and that’s because people were buying more computational, link-heavy configurations, mostly with GPUs, predominantly because of the influx of machine learning.” Which is to say that with high prices for GPUs, there’s less money left in budgets for storage.

Intersect360 also reported that high performance storage vendors, such as DDN and Panasas, had off years in 2017.

“More of the storage revenues flowed away from dedicated storage companies and toward server companies that were also selling storage,” he said. “That goes along with that theme that people were buying things that are more integrated.”

Looking ahead, Intersect360 sees growth for the HPC industry’s future.

“In the forecast, we see a return to steady growth, primarily because the budget outlooks have improved across all three sectors (industry, government, academia),” Snell said, “particularly government… it has the best forward looking outlook it’s had had in the last five years. That’s been flat, and it’s finally starting to reengage again. So that’s going to unlock some of the growth that we see here.”

But for all the optimism about the industry’s future, problems still exist. Snell cited “technology disaggregation,” the emergence of non-x86 accelerated processors, such as GPUs, FPGAs, Arm and others.

“The big challenge is on the one hand end users are facing (a) diversifying set of workloads,” he said. “I’ve got all my traditional HPC stuff, and I’ve got analytics and now I’ve also got ML. On the other hand, I’ve got a diversifying set of technologies, where I’ve got to choose what processor type, what interconnect type, how many tiers of storage, and so forth. And the user is really afraid of getting burnt. I’m going to go buy a bunch of stuff in this arch, and then in four years that’s not going to be what I want for this workload.”

The problem, he said, is “there are precious few technology vendors addressing this head on. Everyone’s selling their own solutions.”

But a vendor that not only has a spectrum of available solutions but also the ability to guide customers on the best use of those solutions to address the customer’s workload portfolio “would have a major competitive advantage in this space. That’s what we’re waiting for – either from a major system vendor or from a major cloud vendor that can offer different types of instances.”

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!

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

AWS Arm-based Graviton3 Instances Now in Preview

December 1, 2021

Three years after unveiling the first generation of its AWS Graviton chip-powered instances in 2018, Amazon Web Services announced that the third generation of the processors – the AWS Graviton3 – will power all-new Amazon Elastic Compute 2 (EC2) C7g instances that are now available in preview. Debuting at the AWS re:Invent 2021... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies participated and, one of them, Graphcore, even held a separ Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2021 Edition

December 1, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Running a 3.2M vCPU HPC Workload on AWS with YellowDog

Historically, advances in fields such as meteorology, healthcare, and engineering, were achieved through large investments in on-premises computing infrastructure. Upfront capital investment and operational complexity have been the accepted norm of large-scale HPC research. Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

Raja Koduri and Satoshi Matsuoka Discuss the Future of HPC at SC21

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Intel's Raja Koduri and Riken's Satoshi Matsuoka in St. Louis for an off-the-cuff conversation about their SC21 experience, what comes after exascale and why they are collaborating. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics (AXG) group, leads the team... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire