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.
HP, Intel Partner to Expand HPC Into New Areas
In addition, Intel expects more than 100 switch and server platforms to embrace the new Omni-Path Architecture 100 Series, with deployments coming starting in the fourth quarter.
Wuischpard said Intel will have a presence at the ISC show beyond its alliance with HP, using the event to give more detail about its HPC efforts and its HPC Scalable System Framework. One of Intel’s goals for the initiative is to move the development of HPC-level systems away from the traditional one-offs for particular customers and toward a platform of technologies that can be used by for a broad range of applications.
Intel initially introduced the Xeon Phi many-core chips as co-processors that could be used in similar fashions as GPU accelerators from Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices—as a way of boosting the performance of HPC systems while keeping down power consumption. With Knights Landing, the company is enabling the Xeon Phis to be used as primary processors. The chips will have up to 72 cores, with two vector processing units per core, with up to 16GB of integrated memory and five times the bandwidth of DDR and two integrated Omni-Path fabric ports.
Intel will demonstrate the Knights Landing chips during the ISC.
The Omni-Path technology is designed to support the faster performance and integrated cores that Xeon Phi brings to the equation. According to Wuischpard, the technology will offer 73 percent better switch messaging rates, 23 percent lower port-to-port latency and 60 percent lower switch fabric latency in clusters than InfiniBand EDR.
Intel also is adding a range of new features to the Cloud and Enterprise editions of its Lustre software, including support for over-the-wire and storage encryption and support for the latest Linux operating systems from Red Hat and SUSE. The new offerings will become available starting in the third quarter.
Intel also will roll out a new developer community to developers code for the new hardware that will roll out with its HPC technologies, which also include other offerings such as the company’s solid-date drives (SSDs), Ethernet products and silicon photonics capabilities. The Modern Code Developer Community will include tools, training and support, and Intel is hoping to reach 400,000 programmers and partners by the end of the year.