Feeds

HPC 2.0: The monster mash-up

When Big Data gets big, data centres should get nervous

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Blog This is the second of a three-part series on the convergence of HPC and business analytics, and the implications for data centers. The first article is here; you’re reading the second one; and the third story is coming soon.

The genesis of this set of articles was a recent IBM analyst conference during which the company laid out their HPC strategy. Much of the material and ensuing discussion was about the worlds of HPC and business analytics coming together and what this means for citizens of both worlds, particularly when it comes to dealing with the explosive growth of data. Big data is – well – damned big, as it turns out.

IBM’s Dave Turek took us through the process of analyzing large data sets and the challenges it will present. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of factors to take into account when building or adapting an existing infrastructure to support enterprise analytics.

First, it’s important to realize that the most time-consuming task in processing big data is simply moving the data around. This means getting it onto storage arrays where it can be read by systems, processed, and then the output is stored back onto the arrays.

This looms large when you consider that most analytic processes aren’t just a single workload where data flows in and answers flow out; there are steps performed by different applications on separate systems.

Some will say that this is the case for many business applications already, and our fast networking and fast storage arrays work fine – so what’s the big deal? The big deal is big data and the need for speed.

Data sets range from hundreds of terabytes into the petabyte range – and are growing fast. This isn’t data that’s just going to be sorted and used to build reports; this data needs to be analyzed in near real- time in order to guide decision making.

The weak link is bulk transfers from spinning drives, which are limited to about 1Gb/s or 128MB/sec real-world speed, at best, per spindle. Moving 250TB of data will take almost 5.69 hours using 100 drive spindles or about 40 minutes using 1,000 spindles. The time it takes to move this amount of data multiple times from storage to system, then system to storage adds up – even with thousands of spindles working in concert.

One way to get around this problem is to have data directly transferred from one system to another, which will eliminate the multiple loads and saves from disk storage. With this kind of solution, your overall performance will be limited to the speed of your network – which is probably around 1Gb/s (about the same as a single drive) or maybe 10Gb/s. With large datasets, this is still slower than it could and should be.

So what’s the right answer? We’ll talk about that in Part 3 of this series ... ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
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?