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!

HPC in Life Sciences Part 1: CPU Choices, Rise of Data Lakes, Networking Challenges, and More

February 21, 2019

For the past few years HPCwire and leaders of BioTeam, a research computing consultancy specializing in life sciences, have convened to examine the state of HPC (and now AI) use in life sciences. Without HPC writ large, modern life sciences research would quickly grind to a halt. It’s true most life sciences research computing... Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized silicon designs catered toward general-purpose cloud computing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Internet of Criminal Things—Trust in the Gods but Verify!

February 20, 2019

“Are we under attack?” asked Professor Elmarie Biermann of the Cyber Security Institute during the recent South African Centre for High Performance Computing’s (CHPC) National Conference in Cape Town. A quick show Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

The Perils of Becoming Trapped in the Cloud

Terms like ‘open systems’ have been bandied about for decades. While modern computer systems are relatively open compared to their predecessors, there are still plenty of opportunities to become locked into proprietary interfaces. Read more…

Machine Learning Takes Heat for Science’s Reproducibility Crisis

February 19, 2019

Scientists are raising red flags about the accuracy and reproducibility of conclusions drawn by machine learning frameworks. Among the remedies are developing new ML systems that can question their own predictions, show Read more…

By George Leopold

HPC in Life Sciences Part 1: CPU Choices, Rise of Data Lakes, Networking Challenges, and More

February 21, 2019

For the past few years HPCwire and leaders of BioTeam, a research computing consultancy specializing in life sciences, have convened to examine the state of HPC (and now AI) use in life sciences. Without HPC writ large, modern life sciences research would quickly grind to a halt. It’s true most life sciences research computing... Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from the nanoscale to the astronomic, from calculating quantum effects in new materials to supporting bioinformatics for advanced healthcare research to screening millions of possible chemical combinations to attack a deadly virus. Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

UC Berkeley Paper Heralds Rise of Serverless Computing in the Cloud – Do You Agree?

February 13, 2019

Almost exactly ten years to the day from publishing of their widely-read, seminal paper on cloud computing, UC Berkeley researchers have issued another ambitious examination of cloud computing - Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing. The new work heralds the rise of ‘serverless computing’ as the next dominant phase of cloud computing. Read more…

By John Russell

Iowa ‘Grows Its Own’ to Fill the HPC Workforce Pipeline

February 13, 2019

The global workforce that supports advanced computing, scientific software and high-speed research networks is relatively small when you stop to consider the magnitude of the transformative discoveries it empowers. Technical conferences provide a forum where specialists convene to learn about the latest innovations and schedule face-time with colleagues from other institutions. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Trump Signs Executive Order Launching U.S. AI Initiative

February 11, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) today launching a U.S Artificial Intelligence Initiative. The new initiative - Maintaining American L Read more…

By John Russell

Celebrating Women in Science: Meet Four Women Leading the Way in HPC

February 11, 2019

One only needs to look around at virtually any CS/tech conference to realize that women are underrepresented, and that holds true of HPC. SC hosts over 13,000 H Read more…

By AJ Lauer

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

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

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

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o 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

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

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
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

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

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

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

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

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

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