HP Makes a Big Bet on the Machine

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2014-06-15 Print this article Print
data center

"[HP] envisions pools of processors and memory chips interconnected with photonic cables, which Fink said will carry data at up to 6TB per second," Daniel Amor, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) lead for application modernization for HP, said in a post on the company blog. "Managing the new architecture will require new operating systems. HP is building a Machine OS from scratch, but it's also developing a version based on Linux and another with Google's mobile OS."

Not only will the Machine be able to address huge amounts of data and massive workloads at much greater speeds than current systems, but it will do this using significantly less power, according to Fink. Company officials reportedly expect the Machine will be six times more powerful than existing systems, but consume 80 percent less power, and that the architecture will be able to be used in everything from supercomputers and data center servers to PCs and smartphones.

"The notion of simply continuing to expand the current data center model isn't a feasible one," Fink wrote in his blog. "Today, Big Data means bringing all the data into one place. Tomorrow, some of data will be too big and too expensive to move. Tomorrow's analytics will work where the data is created, transforming data locally into intelligence which is then sent to a centralized learning engine powered by The Machine. The Machine not only increases performance, it will also greatly reduce the amount of energy that is needed to achieve those speeds."

Not everyone was enamored by the Machine. Dell officials at a meeting in San Francisco told reporters that the Machine was a dream of computer scientists that had little basis in reality. John Swainson, president of software at Dell, said that "the notion you can achieve some kind of magical state by re-architecting an operating system is laughable on the face of it."

In an eWEEK article, Eric Lundquist said that HP's efforts with its OpenStack-based Helion cloud computing project—which the company introduced in May, along with $1 billion to support it—will be more important to the company in the coming years than the Machine.



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