Feeds

Intel HPC plans need exascale I/O and storage

Balancing HPC compute, networking and storage

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

ISC'11 Intel set itself an exascale computing target at ISC Hamburg, with radical implications for HPC networking and storage.

Kirk Skaugen, VP of Intel's architecture group, said: "We're going to build computers 100 times more capable than they are today… moving to exaflop computing."

By 2018, he said, Intel will provide 125X the performance of today's processors. Moore's Law will provide 25X of that with the remaining 5X coming from the MIC technology, and "We'll need more than 5X to give us a net 5X."

According to Skaugen, Exascale computing will enable things like real time delivery of CT scans on the hospital operating table, and much better forecasting of where hurricanes will make their landfall in the Gulf of Mexico. He is convinced that Intel is on track, with its 22nm, 3-dimensional tri-gate transistors, constant process size reductions and MIC architecture to bring us exascale computing.

Today's HPC systems have entered the petaflop era and we see quad data rate (QDR) InfiniBand or 10GbitE networks connecting the hundreds and thousands of HPC processors to arrays that have entered the petabyte level.

Skaugen committed Intel to providing 100 times the performance of today's computers with just twice the electrical power draw and using today's software programming model. Intel is developing new optimisation tools to work on compiled code and optimise it for the coming MIC processors. Skaugen claimed: "One programming model [will] democratise usage and avoid costly detours."

A leap into the exaflop computing level will require similar leaps in networking I/O performance, and storage capacity and latency to keep the thousands of processor cores busy, and provide a balanced HP system. It seems clear that today's QDR InfiniBand and petascale spinning disk arrays will be insufficient for exascale computing.

InfiniBand will progress from QDR (40Gbit/s) through FDR (56Gbit/s) to EDR (80-100Gbit/s) to deliver the networking bandwidth needed. Ethernet will need to pass through 40GBit/s to 100Gbit/s to match this.

Skaugen said storage latency and IOPS will become key. Dr Eng Lim Goh, SGI's chief technology officer, said we will probably move to solid state drives (SSD) for the first tier of HPC storage with disk a tier behind. SGI had already built a 1 million IOPS system with Intel servers and flash storage, but not PCIe flash.

Skaugen, acknowledging Intel flash partner Micron's PCIe flash product, said: "We could see PCIe flash from Intel in the future."

This level of compute power in HPC applications could cement the use of InfiniBand and banish spinning disk from the front line of HPC storage.

Almost as a aside, Intel said it will have an 80 per cent share of high-volume storage array controllers by the end of this year. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.