Huawei Makes Debut at Supercomputing Show

Company officials introduce the U.S. market to server, storage and networking products aimed at the HPC cloud space.

Huawei officials see the future of high-performance computing moving from clusters to the cloud, and they believe they have the infrastructure products to help fuel that transition.

Officials with Huawei Enterprise USA for the first time are at the SC '13 supercomputing show in Denver this week to show off the company's lines of server, storage and networking offerings that they say together offer scalable, flexible and high-density features that dovetail with the needs of clouds running high-performance computing (HPC) workloads.

In addition, the giant Chinese tech vendor is introducing into the United States a blade server and storage appliances aimed at the HPC market. The company expects to show that Huawei's offerings are strong alternatives to HPC products from the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Cray.

The supercomputer space "is not too, too new for us," Jane Li, chief operating officer for Huawei Enterprise USA, told eWEEK. "It's a great vertical that values performance, values scalability and flexibility, and it's a great vertical to demonstrate our stuff really works."

The HPC push is part of a larger effort by Huawei to gain traction in the U.S. market that began in earnest in 2011, with the creation of Huawei Enterprise USA. The company already is working to make inroads in such areas as servers and networking, and now is looking at the HPC space as a good fit for its wide range of IT infrastructure products.

"HPC is a very broad community … with very diverse requirements," Francis Lam, senior manager at Huawei Enterprise USA, told eWEEK.

It's also a growing market. IDC analysts said that in the second quarter, revenue in the HPC technical space grew 7.9 percent—to almost $2.6 billion—over the same period last year.

On display by Huawei at the SC '13 show—which runs through Nov. 22—are two servers, two storage systems and networking switches. Among the products being introduced in the United States is the Tecal E9000 blade server, a system with high-density capabilities and high memory. The blade server chassis offers 15.6 terabytes of mid-plane bandwidth, which officials said is the highest blade server chassis bandwidth in the industry. The system can support up to 100Gb cluster connectivity and eliminates the need for chassis over-subscription, features that are important in HPC clusters in private, public and hybrid clouds, according to the company.

The E9000 compute nodes include Xeon E5 and E7 chips and are two-socket offerings in a half-width slot. The storage nodes offer two to fifteen 2.5-inch hard disks depending on the node being used, while connectivity features include standard PCI-Express network adapter expansion, 128 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis and 10GbE/Fibre Channel over Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InifiniBand switching.

"These are strengths that not many vendors … can have," Li said.

Huawei also announced the U.S. availability of the OceanStor 18500 and 18800 series of storage-area network (SAN) systems. The 18000 series is the flagship storage product for Huawei and offers products that can scale out and up, company officials said.

The 18000 series can scale up to 16 controllers, 3TB of cache and 192 network ports. In addition, they can hold up to 3,216 hard-disk drives or solid-state drives, and 65,000 LUNs. In addition, Huawei's Smart Matrix architecture enables controllers to leverage a PCIe switch network to share global cache and back-end function. The systems' scalability enables them to simultaneously support multiple application environments, and they can support vertical, horizontal and cross-system data flows. Management is done through the company's Smart series of software while security comes via the Hyper series of data-protection software.

Other products on display at the show are the OceanStor, 9000 NAS solution, Tecal X8000 high-density server and CloudEngine data center switches.

Huawei officials also will have on hand information regarding their HPC solutions deployed at the University of California, Santa Cruz—where the vendor's storage system used with the university's Hyades supercomputer for computational astrophysics research—and Huawei's partnership in CERN's openlab program.

Huawei's push into the United States comes despite concerns about security by some government officials over the idea of using Huawei networking technology in sensitive environments, including wireless carrier infrastructures. Some lawmakers are concerned over perceived close ties between Huawei and the Chinese government, something that both the company and Chinese government officials have denied.