Timothy Prickett Morgan

Author Archives: Timothy Prickett Morgan

Intel Leverages Chip Might To Etch Photonics Future

Computing has gone through a few waves. There was human to human computing in the first few decades, and in recent years it has been dominated by human to machine computing with hyperscale consumer-facing applications, and we are on the cusp of a third wave of machine to machine computing that will swell compute, storage, and networking to untold zettabytes of traffic.

Under such data strain, there is an explosive need for bandwidth across datacenters as a whole, but particularly among hyperscalers with their hundreds of millions to billions of users. (Ironically, some datacenters are only now moving to 10

Intel Leverages Chip Might To Etch Photonics Future was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Getting Cloud Out Of A Fugue State

The polyphonic weavings of a fugue in baroque music is a beautiful thing and an apt metaphor for how we want orchestration on cloud infrastructure to behave in a harmonic fashion. Unfortunately, most cloudy infrastructure is in more of a fugue state, complete with multiple personalities and amnesia.

A startup founded by some architects and engineers from Amazon Web Services wants to get the metaphor, and therefore the tools, right and have just popped out of stealth mode with a company aptly called Fugue to do just that.

Programmers are in charge of some of the largest and most profitable

Getting Cloud Out Of A Fugue State was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Deep Learning Drives Nvidia’s Tesla Business To New Highs

It is a coincidence, but one laden with meaning, that Nvidia is setting new highs selling graphics processors at the same time that SGI, one of the early innovators in the fields of graphics and supercomputing, is being acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Nvidia worked up from GPUs for gaming PCs to supercomputers, and has spread its technology to deep learning, visualization, and virtual desktops, all with much higher margins than GPUs for PCs or any other client device could deliver. SGI, in its various incarnations, stayed at the upper echelons of computing where there is, to a certain

Deep Learning Drives Nvidia’s Tesla Business To New Highs was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

HPE Expands HPC Reach With SGI Buy

Supercomputer maker SGI has been going it alone in the upper echelons of the computing arena for decades and has brought much innovation to bear on some of the most intractable simulation, modeling, and analytics problems in the world. But the one thing it could never do was get enough feet on the street to sell its gear.

Now that Hewlett Packard Enterprise has acquired SGI, that will no longer be a problem, but the downside, as far as the variety in the IT ecosystem is concerned, is that yet another independent company will be subsumed into a much larger

HPE Expands HPC Reach With SGI Buy was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Melding Hyperscale And HPC To Reach Exascale

It is going to take a lot of different things to build an exascale system. One of them is money, and the other is a lot of good – and perhaps unconventional – ideas. It may also take more cooperation between the hyperscale and HPC communities, who both stand to benefit from the innovation.

As a professor of computer architectures at the University of Manchester, the director of technology and systems at chip designer ARM, and the founder of a company called Kaleao to create microservers that implement many of his architectural ideas, John Goodacre has some strong opinions about

Melding Hyperscale And HPC To Reach Exascale was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

High Sticking With Flash Memory

Making the transition from disk storage to flash and other non-volatile media is perhaps more difficult for the makers of storage than it is for customers.

All things being equal, storage suppliers would have preferred for disks to continue selling and flash to be incremental revenue, but IT shops have long been buying at least some of their disk spindles for performance, not for capacity, so it is not surprising that a chunk of storage in the datacenter has moved to flash and that more will migrate as flash gets denser and cheaper and the electronics and software to deal

High Sticking With Flash Memory was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

One Rack To Stack Them All

Stacking up electronics equipment in precise form factors that slide into standard racks is not a new idea, and in fact it is one that predates the modern era of computing. As is the case with any standard, the constraints it imposes brings order to the market while at the same time restricting it, and making any substantial change in something as fundamental as the datacenter rack requires a pretty significant payback.

Any standard also requires volume manufacturing to really take off and yield benefits, and this has certainly not happened with rack-scale architectures to date. The time is perhaps

One Rack To Stack Them All was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Taking A Long View On HPC And Beyond

Bad things sometimes happen to good companies, but the great ones are resilient; they ride out the difficulties and keep forging ahead. So it will be with Cray, which does not just make massive-scale machines aimed at supercomputing centers but analytics engines that will see wider adoption among enterprises.

We have said it before and we will say it again: You have to take a long view of the high performance computing business – and we are using that term in the broadest sense – and not look at it on a quarter-by-quarter or even year-by-year basis. And so it

Taking A Long View On HPC And Beyond was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Making The Case For Big Xeon Iron

The two-socket Xeon server has been the default workhorse machine in the datacenter for so long and to such a great extent that using anything else almost looks aberrant. But there are occasions where a fatter machine makes sense based on the applications under consideration and the specific economics of the hardware and software supporting those applications.

All things being equal, of course companies would want to buy the most powerful machines they can, and indeed, Intel has said time and time again that customers are continuing to buy up the Xeon stack within the Xeon D, Xeon E5, and

Making The Case For Big Xeon Iron was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

First, Kill All The Servers

Cannibalize your own products or someone else will do it for you, as the old adage goes.

And so it is that Amazon Web Services, the largest provider of infrastructure services available on the public cloud, has been methodically building up a set of data and processing services that will allow customers to run functions against streams or lakes of data without ever setting up a server as we know it.

Just saying the words makes us a little woozy, with systems being the very foundation of the computing platforms that everyone deploys today to do the data processing that

First, Kill All The Servers was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Mesos Reaches Milestone, Adds Native Docker

The battle between the Mesos and Kubernetes tools for managing applications on modern clusters continues to heat up, with the former reaching its milestone 1.0 with a “universal containerizer” feature that supports native Docker container formats and a shiny new API stack that is a lot more friendly and flexible than the manner in which APIs are implemented in systems management software these days.

Ultimately, something has to be in control of the clusters and divvy up scarce resources to hungry applications, and there has been an epic battle shaping up between Mesos, Kubernetes, and OpenStack.

Mesos is the

Mesos Reaches Milestone, Adds Native Docker was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Google Fosters Another OpenStack Kubernetes Mashup

Because Google is such a wildly successful company and a true innovator when it comes to IT platforms, and because we know more about its infrastructure at a theoretical level than what has been built by other hyperscalers and cloud providers, it is natural enough to think that the future of computing for the rest of us will look like what Google has already created for itself.

But ironically, only by going into the public cloud business could Google have to change its infrastructure enough to actually have to make it look more like what large enterprises will need, and

Google Fosters Another OpenStack Kubernetes Mashup was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Intel Broadwell Rollout Complete With Xeon E5 Quads

Just because Intel doesn’t make a lot of noise about a product does not mean that it is not important for the company. Rather, it is a gauge of relative importance, and with such a broad and deep portfolio of chips, not everything can be cause for rolling out the red carpet.

So it is, as usual, with the Xeon E5-4600 processors, the variant of Intel’s server chips that has some of the scalability attributes of the high-end Xeon E7 family while being based on the workhorse Xeon E5 chip that is used in the vast majority of the servers

Intel Broadwell Rollout Complete With Xeon E5 Quads was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

A Thirst For Petabyte Scale All-Flash Arrays

Some technology trends get their start among enterprises, some from hyperscalers or HPC organizations. With flash storage, it was small businesses and hyperscalers who, for their own reasons, got the market growing, drawing in engineering talent and venture capital to give us the plethora of options available on the market today. Now, the big customers are ready to take the plunge.

It is no coincidence, then, that Pure Storage has architected systems that scale to multiple petabytes of capacity to meet their needs. Large enterprises with pressing demands for scaling in terms of both performance and capacity need a different

A Thirst For Petabyte Scale All-Flash Arrays was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Datacenters, Poised To Spend, Take A Breather From Intel

Would you rather have tens of thousands of customers who collectively spend a lot of money but their spending rises and falls with the gross domestic product, or a couple of dozen customers who spend almost as much on your product but who do so with massive checks that are not always predictable?

For Intel, this question is moot because it has both kinds of customers, and sometimes they both take a slight pause at exactly the same time. This is precisely what happened for Intel’s Data Center Group in the second quarter of 2016, as revenue growth slowed as

Datacenters, Poised To Spend, Take A Breather From Intel was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Stacking Up Oracle S7 Against Intel Xeon

Even though the Xeon processor has become the default engine for most kinds of compute in the datacenter, it is by no means to only option that is available to large enterprises that can afford to indulge in different kinds of systems because they do not have to homogenize their systems as hyperscalers must if they are to keep their IT costs in check.

Sometimes, there are benefits to being smaller, and the ability to pick point solutions that are good for a specific job is one of them. This has been the hallmark of the high-end of computing since

Stacking Up Oracle S7 Against Intel Xeon was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Systems Are The Table Stakes For IBM’s Evolution

Big Blue does not participate in any meaningful sense in the booming market for infrastructure for the massive hyperscale and public cloud buildout that is transforming the face of the IT business. But the company is still a bellwether for computing at large enterprises, and its efforts to – once again – transform itself to address the very different needs that companies have compared to a decade or two ago are fascinating to contemplate.

In a very real way, the manner that IBM talks about its own business these days, which is very different from how it described the rising

Systems Are The Table Stakes For IBM’s Evolution was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

HPC Flows Into Hyperscale With Dell Triton

Dell recently unveiled its datacenter liquid cooling technology under the codename of Triton. Dell’s Extreme Scale Infrastructure team originally designed and developed Triton as a proof of concept for eBay, leveraging Dell’s existing rack-scale infrastructure.

In addition to liquid-cooled cold plates that directly contact the CPUs, Triton is also designed with embedded liquid to air heat exchangers to cool the airborne heat of a large number of tightly packed and hot processor nodes using 80% of the cooling capacity of the heat exchangers. That leaves 20% of Triton’s cooling capacity as “overhead”. The overhead cooling capacity is then used to

HPC Flows Into Hyperscale With Dell Triton was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Weaving Accelerators Into The Memory Complex

In the first part of this series on the proposed Cache Coherence Interconnect for Accelerators (CCIX) standard, we talked about the issues of cache coherence and the need to share memory across various kinds of compute elements in a system. In this second part, we will go deeper into the approach of providing memory coherence across CPUs and various kinds of accelerators that have their own local memory.

A local accelerator could potentially be anything. You want something to execute faster than what is possible in today’s generic processors, and so you throw specialized hardware at the problem. Still,

Weaving Accelerators Into The Memory Complex was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Ranking High Performance Interconnects

With the increasing adoption of scale-out architectures and cloud computing, high performance interconnect (HPI) technologies have become a more critical part of IT systems. Today, HPI represents its own market segment at the upper echelons of the networking equipment market, supporting applications requiring extremely low latency and exceptionally high bandwidth.

As big data analytics, machine learning, and business optimization applications become more prevalent, HPI technologies are of increasing importance for enterprises as well. These most demanding enterprise applications, as well as high performance computing (HPC) applications, are generally addressed with scale-out clusters based on large numbers of ‘skinny’ nodes. The

Ranking High Performance Interconnects was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

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