Blue Genes Influence on

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2005-06-03 Print this article Print

Other IBM Product Lines"> How do you see Blue Gene influencing other product lines at IBM? This is a pretty speculative proposition in the sense of what it means in terms of products. In terms of design principles, that part is clear. We will relentlessly pursue efficient operation … and scalability.
When we talk about scalability, its not just the routine mention of the number of servers or processors in some particular domain, but actually its a comment about how we expect algorithms to perform, applications to perform, software in general to perform in these systems.
The other side of this is that were beginning to see in the marketplace an interest on the part of customers in what Id call the hybridization of computing models, in the sense that as you start to deconstruct our portfolio and you make the observations that we have big SMPs [shared memory processors] built on Power and we have concentrated footprint kinds of servers built out of [Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s] Opteron and Intel [Corp.] and ultrascaling kinds of architectures like Blue Gene, the game always comes back to the application at hand. What were seeing is that there is no universal architecture for all possible applications. As a consequence, there is a greater and greater desire on the part of customers to acquire multiple technologies and merge them. That really is a reflection of the heterogeneity in their own application portfolio domains. Right now, thats the situation where one might deploy Blue Gene coupled with an xSeries cluster running your Opteron or Intel, where work streams are simply allocated as appropriate for the right platform for the element of the application that really requires it. Over the course of time were going to have to look at this very carefully and see whether architectures in general should become more multifaceted in their capability. Its sort of the counter argument to a company that might choose to compete by building a purpose-built machine. By definition, if you build a purpose-driven machine, youve kind of said to your customers, "The rest of the problem is yours to figure out." … Our view is that since we value the nature of a client-led relationship, we cant leave customers in the lurch like that. We have to do the best we can to build the composite set of technologies to solve the overall problems that the client faces. To a certain extent, thats why our focus on this area is not limited to what were doing on the server side. Earlier this year, we launched a solutions effort called Deep Computing visualization, because our observation was that visualization was becoming a progressively core central theme. While this conversation has really been focused on technologies, the other part of the conversation has to do with our business consulting services, our hosting service, and a variety of other things that look not solely at an application in its conical form. … Youve also got to look at the financial circumstances or even the sociological circumstances that characterize the behavior of the enterprise and youve got to say, "All right, the conventional model of build-a-box, sell-a-box may not be the universal panacea that everybody needs. Maybe there are on-demand kinds of solutions that can be provided or hosting solutions or combinations of those as well." So its a dramatically complex environment that I think a lot of people over the past couple of years have dismissed in terms of its gross complexity by virtue of the headlines some of the really big deals have garnered. We just see this as an extraordinary, rich marketplace that gives rise to creativity on many, many dimensions that go beyond just pure technology. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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