November 19, 2010
This week in New Orleans we were able to secure time with some leaders in the HPC cloud space, both in terms of vendors and research institutions, to get their take on how a movement like cloud is shaping the future of HPC and IT in general.
One such luminary we were able to find a few moments to speak with was Songnian Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Platform Computing. If you have about ten minutes to spare, take a listen to what he has to say—our conversation is not about Platform but rather about maturation stages for IT in general, taking into account developments in the grid to cloud movement and beyond.
In Zhou’s view after 18 years in the industry, HPC as a field can now contribute more to the world economy due to the enhanced access that cloud computing provides. While he sees that grids and cloud computing as variations on the same idea, coming as they did from the first moment the concept of clusters was strung together and distributed computing—he sees the missing piece that separates grids and clouds as the management layer; the interface for the user.
Certainly, since this is Platform Computing Zhou has an investment in touting the management layer as the critical missing component that will allow for a new era of IT via cloud computing—but he does readily admit that this is still an area that requires a significant amount of innovation still.
Many can argue that the performance and data movement issues might outweigh management of distributed or remote resources, but between these three topics there is a common theme that suggests the triad of barriers for true HPC (focus on the “P”) are not insurmountable. Further innovation is required since we are still in the infancy of clouds for HPC.
Depending on whom you ask, there are a few different answers to the question of what separates cloud computing from what came before it. Some in HPC believe that the only difference lies in some slick marketing, while others, like Zhou, feel that the key element lies in ease of management of complex resources via an automated, abstracted layer of software that brings the vision of grid computing into a new era of development and usability.
As Songnian Zhou states in this interview, cloud are “the biggest invention in computing models in the last 30 years” and that even after you wash away the hype cloud is an architecture, one that delivers applications as services, where users consume them as services because “services are the essence of cloud—and every industry that becomes mature becomes a service.”
In this way, Zhou sees that we are still in the maturation stages as the integration of these disparate services come together in innovative ways. In this sense he feels “this is now the renaissance of IT.”
By the way, earlier this summer we featured an in-depth interview with Mr. Zhou. This quickly became one of the more popular articles on the site, in part because Zhou is well-known in high-performance computing circles and also because the company’s history is quite interesting. While coming straight from academia into company status is nothing original or new, Platform has managed to remain a private company since the beginning, which we discuss in the transcribed interview here, which you can check out if you want a little more background. Again, it’s free from product talk and provides a great mini-background on some key movements in the history of distributed computing.
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.