Andy Patrizio

Author Archives: Andy Patrizio

Lenovo doubles down on AMD support, adds liquid GPU cooling

Last year, Lenovo Data Center Group (DCG) announced single-socket ThinkSystem servers using the AMD Rome generation, which has up to 64 cores per processor. Dual-socket systems are de rigueur in enterprise servers, but that's because those processors have just 20-odd cores. AMD's pitch, which Lenovo and its competitors embraced, was that it could offer more compute in a one-socket, 64-core processor than two 22-core processors, and for less money.This year Lenovo DGC is following up that launch with the 1U ThinkSystem SR645 and 2U ThinkSystem SR665 two-socket servers, featuring enhanced performance and I/O connectivity for higher performance workloads. With 128 cores/256 threads in a 1U/2U design, a whole lot of computation power can be squeezed into a small space.To read this article in full, please click here

Schneider Electric and Aveva announce solution for multi-site data center management

Schneider Electric has partnered with systems management company Aveva to put together a package for managing multiple and hyperscale data centers with a single view to enable and expand visibility into day-to-day operations.The package combines Aveva Unified Operations Center with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for control and monitoring systems to offer predictive maintenance, staff training and financial aspects of large data centers. The combined software provides a homogenous view of engineering, operations and performance and improves workforce productivity by standardizing and de-siloing systems and processes across multiple sites for real-time decision making.To read this article in full, please click here

Nvidia unleashes new generation of GPU hardware

Nvidia, whose heritage lies in making chips for gamers, has announced its first new GPU architecture in three years, and it’s clearly designed to efficiently support the various computing needs of artificial intelligence and machine learning.The architecture, called Ampere, and its first iteration, the A100 processor, supplant the performance of Nvidia’s current Volta architecture, whose V100 chip was in 94 of the top 500 supercomputers last November. The A100 has an incredible 54 billion transistors, 2.5 times as many as the V100.10 of the world's fastest supercomputers Tensor performance, so vital in AI and machine learning, has been significantly improved. FP16 floating point calculations are almost 2.5x as fast as V100 and Nvidia introduced a new math mode called TF32. Nvidia claims TF32 can provide up to 10-fold speedups compared to single-precision floating-point math on Volta GPUs.To read this article in full, please click here

For sale: Used, low-mileage hyperscaler servers

A company that specializes in creating second lives for IT hardware is expanding its initiative to reengineer and sell decommissioned data-center equipment from the major hyperscale operators that are aggressively replacing relatively new hardware.ITRenew announced the plan at the recent Open Compute Project (OCP) conference, promising to sell full servers previously owned by the big operators, reengineered, warrantied, and configured for turnkey uses like web serving and Kubernetes. ITRenew launched its first server racks two years ago and is now making the initiative more broadly available to all industries so more potential customers can buy OCP-certified hardware. To read this article in full, please click here

Backblaze challenges dominance of cloud-storage vendors

Backblaze, the cloud-backup vendor legendary for its quarterly hard-drive-failure reports, has decided to kick Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in the shins with a much cheaper and more customer-friendly storage offering.Like other cloud backup services, Backblaze used a small app to backup and restore on a PC. In 2015, in response to repeated requests for direct access to its storage services, the company introduced an API and service under the name Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage and now claims more than 100,000 customers.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] The company has released beta versions of S3-compatible APIs that allows customers to redirect data workflows from S3 to Backblaze’s B2 Cloud Storage. The company says through its services, customers will have infinitely scalable, durable offsite storage at a quarter of the price of S3, Azure, and Google Cloud Storage.To read this article in full, please click here

Global VPN use exploded in March

With millions of people working from home, the coronavirus outbreak has seen global VPN demand surge. Demand for commercial virtual private networks in the U.S. jumped by 41% between March 13 and March 23, according to research from, a VPN research and testing company in the U.K.VPNs were already a growth industry before the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent shutdown of workplaces. The global VPN market was forecast to grow 12% year-on-year and be worth $70 billion by 2026, according to a Global Market Insights 2020 survey. North America was forecast to remain the leader in VPN usage, with around 30% market share.To read this article in full, please click here

Dell EMC, Pure Storage upgrade storage offerings

While many functions have migrated to the cloud, data storage remains very firmly on premises due to the cost of cloud storage, regulations or simply the desire to retain control over a firm’s data. That’s reflected in two new announcements.Dell EMC launched PowerStore, a storage-array line that unifies its overlapping midrange products that Dell owned, along with products from EMC. PowerStore hardware and software has been redesigned from the ground up and comes with new consumption business models, a reflection of the growing popularity of pay-per-use hardware.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Much as HPE unified its multiple storage acquisitions under the Primera brand, PowerStore unifies multiple storage-hardware products over the years, including Dell’s EqualLogic and EMC’s Compellent and XtremIO, not to mention Dell’s own acquisition of EMC. And PowerStore comes with migration tools to help move the contents of old Dell EMC hardware to PowerStore.To read this article in full, please click here

Data centers are shrinking but not going away

The cloud will not kill the data center, but it will transform it. That's one of the takeaways from the 2020 State of the Data Center report from AFCOM, the industry association for data center professionals.In the near term, construction will slow way down, which aligns with what IDC analyst Rick Villars told me about data center construction slowing after a big buildout. More than 60% of respondents to the AFCOM report said they have no plans to build a new facility in the next 12 months, although 53% said they'll have at least one data center in the works over the next 36 months. READ MORE: Supply-chain woes put the brakes on hyperscale data centersTo read this article in full, please click here

Supply-chain woes put the brakes on hyperscale data centers

While data-center staff have been classified as essential, like medical staff and grocery store staff, construction is taking a bit of a hit. In recent weeks, Facebook, Google, and Apple have announced a slowing of construction of major new data centers in the U.S. and Europe.The problem, as it turns out, is not because construction is being ordered halted, or even due to a lack of IT equipment, but because other components of the supply chain like fiber optics, batteries, and racks are scarce, according to Rick Villars, vice president of data center and cloud research at IDC.To read this article in full, please click here

IT vendors offer new financing options for cash-strapped enterprises

Enterprise equipment vendors are rolling out financing and relaxed payment plans in an effort to keep customers buying during the COVID-19 lockdown that might be stressing their budgets.For example, Nutanix, the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software provider, announced the Nutanix Special Financial Assistance Program (NSFAP) that provides its partners extended payment terms to give them more financial flexibility. Nutanix also offers financing options for customers through Nutanix Financial Solutions (NFS). [Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] The program runs through May 31, and participating partners can offer the extended payment terms to their customers. The length of the term extensions will be based on individual partner’s needs, according to the company.To read this article in full, please click here

Glassdoor: COVID-19 hits 1 in 5 IT job openings in a single month

In the space of one month, the number of available IT jobs dropped by 20% across the U.S., according to the recruiting site Glassdoor, about on par with the avarage loss across all job oppenings.The data came from Glassdoor’s economic research unit and was part of a broader analysis of all U.S. industries. All told, the number of job openings between March 9 and April 6 dropped to 4.8 million, a 20.5% decline.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Sixty percent of employers have reduced job openings since March 9, with almost one in four pulling all of their job postings.To read this article in full, please click here

AMD introduces high-performance EPYC processors

AMD has introduced three new processors in its second-generation EPYC 7Fx2 series, which is optimized for frequency and delivers what AMD claims is the fastest per-core performance in the x86 server market.In the server space, AMD is besting Intel when it comes to core count. AMD has the 64-core EPYC line. Intel, which currently tops out at 28 cores, has 38- and 48-core parts due later this year. But it's the individual core performances that matter, and in some benchmarks, Intel wins. READ MORE: How to dispose of IT hardware without hurting the environmentTo read this article in full, please click here

How to dispose of IT hardware without hurting the environment

Many enterprises don’t think much about where their obsolete IT gear winds up, but it’s possible to be green-minded, not bust the budget, and even benefit a little from proper disposal. Here is how.Go back to where you bought The first option to consider is returning the equipment the vendor or reseller you bought it from, says Susan Middleton, research director, financing strategies at IDC. “Every year we ask customers, ‘How do you handle end-of-lease?’ Overwhelmingly, they return to vendor or partner who are better equipped to handle recycling,” she says.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Vendors often give a fair-market buyout for the devices that can go toward new products, Middleton says. “The big players like IBM and HPE do a great job because they can clean them up and resell them, and the facilities to do that are pretty big,” she says.To read this article in full, please click here

Schneider Electric launches cooling for edge devices

Schneider Electric has introduced a system for cooling individual server racks in remote and edge locations that aren’t well suited for traditional data-center cooling schemes.Uniflair Rack Mounted Cooling is a split system consisting of the air conditioning unit that goes in the cabinet and a fan that vents hot air from the cabinet to the outside. The external unit can be up to 20 meters away and up to five meters above or below the cooling unit.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] The 5U, Freon-based air-conditioner unit blows cool air up the front of the cabinet where it is sucked into the servers by their front fans and absorbs heat generated by the servers. The hot air is expelled out the back and drawn down, cooled, and recirculated upwards.To read this article in full, please click here

Lenovo intros an edge platform that runs Azure stack

Lenovo is boosting its ties to Microsoft with an edge-to-cloud platform that runs Microsoft’s Azure Stack in a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), putting HCI on the edge of the network rather than in a data center.The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX1021 server analyzes data at the edge near where it is gathered, a change in direction for the usual edge strategy. In earlier edge schemes,  data collected at an edge endpoint is merely sorted, and only the relevant data is sent up to the main data center where it is analyzed.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] The ThinkAgile MX1021 platform is a ruggedized, half-width, short-depth, 1U compact server that can be installed almost anywhere: hung on a wall, stacked on a shelf, or mounted in a rack. For connectivity, it supports Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G.To read this article in full, please click here

Can Fujitsu beat Nvidia in the HPC race?

Arm processors on servers has gone from failed starts (Calxeda) to modest successes (ThunderX2) to real contenders (ThunderX3, Ampere). Now, details have emerged about Japanese IT giant Fujitsu’s Arm processor, which it claims will offer better HPC performance than Nvidia GPUs but at a lower power cost.Fujitsu is developing the A64FX, a 48-core Arm8 derivative specifically engineered for high-performance computing (HPC). Rather than design general-purpose compute cores, Fujitsu has added compute engines specific to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technologies specific to the needs of HPC.It will go in a new supercomputer called Fugaku, or Post-K. Post-K is a reference to the K supercomputer, at one time the fastest supercomputer in the world, that ran on custom Sparc chips before RIKEN Lab, where it was installed, pulled the plug.To read this article in full, please click here

Survey: Most data centers don’t meet the needs of their users

A joint report released by Forbes Insights and Vertiv found that just 29% of data-center decision-makers say their current facilities are meeting their needs, and only 6% say their data centers are updated ahead of their needs.In yet another example of the disconnect between executives and people on the front lines, 11% of executives believe their data centers are updated ahead of current bandwidth needs, while just 1% of engineers feel the same way.Future data centers, the report says, will inevitably require adequate processing power – locally in the cloud and at the edge – to effectively manage new challenges around bandwidth, security and technologiesAI, advanced analytics, 5G, edge computing and more.To read this article in full, please click here

Tips for cleaning data-center gear in response to coronavirus

People are washing their hands, countertops, and nearly everything else in an effort to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In a recent trip to the supermarket I found plenty of bread and milk, but the cleaning-aisle shelves were bare.While it's easy to keep your desk clean, what about your data center? People go in and out and touch things all the time. Rubber gloves are an option, but they can be a nuisance when working with gear or touch screens. READ MORE: COVID-19 best practices for data-center operatorsTo read this article in full, please click here

Mellanox, Inphi boost network feeds with new hardware

A growing number of vendors are looking to boost network throughput with smarter network controllers. Last week I wrote about Xilinx jumping on the SmartNIC bandwagon. This week, both Mellanox and Inphi announced new products.Mellanox has begun shipping its SN4000 Ethernet switches. The new switches are powered by the vendor's Spectrum-3 12.8 Tbps Ethernet switch ASIC, which is optimized for cloud, Ethernet storage fabric, and AI interconnect applications. SN4000 platforms come in flexible form-factors that support a combination of up to 32 ports of 400GbE, 64 ports of 200GbE and 128 ports of 100/50/25/10GbE.To read this article in full, please click here

Data-center power consumption holds steady

A predicted explosion in power consumption by data centers has not manifested thanks to advances in power efficiency and, ironically enough, the move to the cloud, according to a new report.The study, published in the journal Science last week, notes that while there has been an increase in global data-center energy consumption over the past decade, this growth is negligible compared with the rise of workloads and deployed hardware during that time.Data centers accounted for about 205 terawatt-hours of electricity usage in 2018, which is roughly 1% of all electricity consumption worldwide, according to the report. (That's well below the often-cited stat that data centers consume 2% of the world's electricity). The 205 terawatt-hours represent a 6% increase in total power consumption since 2010, but global data center compute instances rose by 550% over that same time period.To read this article in full, please click here

1 2 3 51