Feeds

IBM turns back on server history

To give and to hybrid

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Hybrid Model

To that end, IBM's top techies are working on hybrid computer systems that will employ a mix of the following:

  • General purpose systems: More or less akin to the standard x64 machines we have today
  • Domain-specific application accelerators: Created and optimized for very specific jobs. Think of the economic modeling that drives financial trading systems, where interest rates change 7 to 10 times per second, but models can't predict effects of those changes in real-time to decide what to do as they are changing
  • Compute-intensive acceleration: Think of all those vector math co-processors inside the Power6 or Cell processors - and add some steroids
  • High-speed, network traffic optimization: Allows hybrid components to talk to each other at high speed and to interface with the outside world

This sounds pretty vague, but when companies talk about the future, as IBM sometimes does, they don't want to give too much away. As a matter of fact, the IBM that I know doesn't want to give anything away.

One of the things that IBM is working hard at, according to Bradicich, is making virtualization on servers smarter. "Anyone can move a virtual machine," he says. "But imagine if the system had a coach that could tell you the best way to do it under adverse conditions. To use a football analogy, great quarterbacks are often great not just because they can throw the ball, because they have great coaches that tell them where to throw the ball, and when." Hence, IBM is worrying about adding intelligence to workload management on these future systems.

Such hybrid systems have been successful in a number of cases. IBM has sold a hybrid Cell-Opteron blade cluster to Los Alamos National Lab that has in excess of 1 petaflops of performance, making it the fastest supercomputer in the world at the moment. Hoplon Infotainment, a Brazilian company, has deployed its Taikodom multiplayer game on a hybrid cluster marrying IBM mainframes with Cell blade servers.

The problem with hybrid systems, which will deploy many different types of components, is that you lose economies of scale even as you gain economies of scope. And that has a dramatic effect on the economics of the server, er, systems business. Getting that dramatic 100X to 1,000X performance improvement over the next decade may see a slackening in the price/performance curve. But there may be no other option, if IBM is right. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?