HP, Intel Partner to Expand HPC Into New Areas

The vendors are bringing together HP's Apollo systems and Intel technologies like Xeon Phi to address the growing demand for HPC capabilities.

HP Apollo

Hewlett-Packard and Intel are partnering to help push high-performance computing capabilities beyond traditional business segments like oil and gas, life sciences and financial services and into enterprises that are increasingly looking for tools to address their growing big data and analytics needs.

The companies announced the alliance July 13 at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), saying HP will roll out a new high-performance computing (HPC) framework based on its Apollo server portfolio, which will leverage new technologies from Intel that include its latest Xeon processors, many-core Xeon Phi chips, Omni-Path network fabric offering and enhanced Lustre HPC storage technology.

The technologies are part of Intel's HPC Scalable System Framework, an initiative that was first introduced in April and which is designed to offer customers the products they need to create HPC-level compute environments, according to Charles Wuischpard, vice president and general manager of workstations and HPC for Intel's Data Center Group.

"To get to the next level of performance is not just a computer story, but a system-level story," Wuischpard told journalists during a conference call before the ISC kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany.

Both HP and Intel see a growth opportunity in bringing HPC capabilities to enterprises, which are seeing an explosion of data generated by a broad range of new sources, from the proliferation of mobile computing devices and the cloud to social networking and the growing Internet of things (IoT). At the same time, new processor technologies are enabling new compute systems that are more efficient, scalable, faster and affordable, while business processes in such industries as oil exploration, human genomics and real-time financial trading are expanding into new areas.

"As data explodes in volume, velocity and variety, and the processing requirements to address business challenges become more sophisticated, the line between traditional and high performance computing is blurring," Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager of HPC and big data at HP, said in a statement. "With this alliance, we are giving customers access to the technologies and solutions as well as the intellectual property, portfolio services and engineering support needed to evolve their compute infrastructure to capitalize on a data driven environment."

The partnership will include not only new server capabilities but also a new HPC Center of Excellence from HP in Texas and enhanced offerings from an existing one in France. At the centers, customers will be able to work with independent software vendors and engineers from Intel and HP to modernize code, develop proof-of-concepts, run benchmark testing and optimize their infrastructures to handle HPC workloads.

HP has targeted HPC and cloud environments with an array of innovative products, including its highly efficient Moonshot server modules that are designed for highly scale-out environments. Through the new partnership with Intel, HP's HPC Solutions Framework will be based on its Apollo line of HPC systems that the company unveiled a year ago. The portfolio includes the Apollo 2000 servers, launched in May for scale-out organizations, and the Apollo 8000, which comes with a water-cooling design.

Via the HPC Solutions Frameworks, these systems will not be optimized to support industry-specific software from ISVs for such industries as oil and gas, financial services and life sciences, and they can be customized to address a customer's particular needs. They will leverage the various new Intel HPC technologies.

During the conference call, Wuischpard noted that Intel's partnership with HP is not exclusive, and that similar alliances with other vendors, such as Dell and Lenovo, could roll out. More than 50 system makers are expected to offer products with the upcoming Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors when they launch later this year, with the first commercial systems coming before the end of 2015. All major OEMs are sampling the chips now, he said.