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!

A Beginner’s Guide to the ASC19 Finals

April 22, 2019

Three thousand watts. That's how much power the competitors in the 2019 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge here in Dalian, China, have to work with. Everybody would like more juice to run compute-intensive HPC simulatio Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Is Data Science the Fourth Pillar of the Scientific Method?

April 18, 2019

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revived a decade-old debate last month when he said that modern data science (AI plus HPC) has become the fourth pillar of the scientific method. While some disagree with the notion that statistic Read more…

By Alex Woodie

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing the bounds of what's possible in business and science, in w Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

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

Bridging HPC and Cloud Native Development with Kubernetes

The HPC community has historically developed its own specialized software stack including schedulers, filesystems, developer tools, container technologies tuned for performance and large-scale on-premises deployments. Read more…

Google Open Sources TensorFlow Version of MorphNet DL Tool

April 18, 2019

Designing optimum deep neural networks remains a non-trivial exercise. “Given the large search space of possible architectures, designing a network from scratch for your specific application can be prohibitively expens Read more…

By John Russell

A Beginner’s Guide to the ASC19 Finals

April 22, 2019

Three thousand watts. That's how much power the competitors in the 2019 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge here in Dalian, China, have to work with. Everybody Read more…

By Alex Woodie

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer

April 18, 2019

Today, as part of our ongoing HPCwire People to Watch focus series, we are highlighting our interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer. Michela -- the Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

Intel Gold U-Series SKUs Reveal Single Socket Intentions

April 18, 2019

Intel plans to jump into the single socket market with a portion of its just announced Cascade Lake microprocessor line according to one media report. This isn Read more…

By John Russell

BSC Researchers Shrink Floating Point Formats to Accelerate Deep Neural Network Training

April 15, 2019

Sometimes calculating solutions as precisely as a computer can wastes more CPU resources than is necessary. A case in point is with deep learning. In early stag Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

Intel Extends FPGA Ecosystem with 10nm Agilex

April 11, 2019

The insatiable appetite for higher throughput and lower latency – particularly where edge analytics and AI, network functions, or for a range of datacenter ac Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Doubles Down on Medical AI

April 9, 2019

Nvidia is collaborating with medical groups to push GPU-powered AI tools into clinical settings, including radiology and drug discovery. The GPU leader said Monday it will collaborate with the American College of Radiology (ACR) to provide clinicians with its Clara AI tool kit. The partnership would allow radiologists to leverage AI techniques for diagnostic imaging using their own clinical data. Read more…

By George Leopold

Digging into MLPerf Benchmark Suite to Inform AI Infrastructure Decisions

April 9, 2019

With machine learning and deep learning storming into the datacenter, the new challenge is optimizing infrastructure choices to support diverse ML and DL workfl Read more…

By John Russell

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

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

France to Deploy AI-Focused Supercomputer: Jean Zay

January 22, 2019

HPE announced today that it won the contract to build a supercomputer that will drive France’s AI and HPC efforts. The computer will be part of GENCI, the Fre Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oil and Gas Supercloud Clears Out Remaining Knights Landing Inventory: All 38,000 Wafers

March 13, 2019

The McCloud HPC service being built by Australia’s DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) outside Houston is set to become the largest oil and gas cloud in the world th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Extends FPGA Ecosystem with 10nm Agilex

April 11, 2019

The insatiable appetite for higher throughput and lower latency – particularly where edge analytics and AI, network functions, or for a range of datacenter ac Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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