Aug 20, 2020

New era of computing is welcomed by HPE

hpe
supercomputing
Network
I.T.
Daisy Slater
2 min
A new line of supercomputers by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cray technologies will be critical in addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19.
A new line of supercomputers by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cray technologies will be critical in addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19...

The new era of supercomputing, dubbed the ‘exascale era’ by HPE, will help highlight and transform the challenges facing the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The supercomputing systems by HPE and Cray technologies will include Cray’s Shasta architecture which is under development and will become integrated into a larger range of products. The supercomputer line will combine over 40 years of expertise in the field. 

Brandon Draeger, HPE’s computer marketing lead, believes that supercomputing needs to evolve as the world and many other industries are doing and says that this new exascale era has arrived due to the needs of extracting insights from data. He believes that the new supercomputing infrastructure will aid the digital transformation and innovation in data centres, both commercial and research based. 

Peter Ungaro, HPE’s senior VP and general manager of HPC and mission-critical solutions, agrees with Brandon in that their new line of supercomputing systems are designed to face the challenges of vast data growth, convergence and simulation through AI and many more caused by the global pandemic and the exascale era. Ungaro stated that “[The exascale era] encompasses a host of new requirements for both research and commercial institutions alike. And it will deliver insights and innovation on a scale never before seen,” 

Cray supercomputer models

Two models will become available in the new HPE Cray supercomputers. The HPE Cray EW liquid-cooled model has been designed purposefully to support large-scale systems and is designed to be supported by liquid-cooled cabinets. 

The second model configuration will be the HPE Cray air-cooled infrastructure. This model is designed with HPE Cray software, HPE Apollo compute nodes and HPE Slingshot interconnect. Both processor equivalent versions support the same interconnect and support software. 

Draeger has commented on the HPE Slingshot, stating that “HPE Slingshot's high radix 64 port switch, coupled with our Dragonfly topology scales, to over 250,000 endpoints with a maximum of three switch-to-switch hops between any endpoints. In addition to latency improvements in larger installations, this low-diameter network reduces network equipment, cabling, and power and cooling costs. It also facilitates the use of innovative adaptive routing algorithms that improve application performance,”. 

The future of supercomputing

The new era of exascale and supercomputing is just starting to take off and will need to be designed to keep up with any problems faced by the ever changing world of technology. 

“These new solutions will mark the start of a new chapter in supercomputing that will make the full potential of exascale era computing accessible to all of our customers.” says Draeger. 

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Jun 6, 2021

Unlocking the next chapter of the digital revolution

Dell
servers
IT
Technology
Tim Loake
5 min
Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies highlights the importance of often-overlooked digital infrastructure

As the world retreated to a hybrid world in 2020, our reliance on technology took the spotlight. But it was the jazzy new social and video calling platforms that took the encore. Behind the scenes, our servers worked overtime, keeping us connected and maintaining the drumbeat of always-on newly digital services.  Let’s take a moment to pay our respect to the unsung technology heroes of the pandemic – the often-forgotten IT infrastructure keeping us connected come what may. After all, as we look ahead to more resilient futures, they will be playing a central role.

Servers could be likened to our plumbing – vital to well-functioning homes but rarely top of mind so long as it is functioning. Never seen, rarely heard – our servers do all the graft with little praise. But it is essential to reflect on the incremental advances in GPU and CPU power, which have paved the way for new workloads that previously were not possible. Chatbots and native language processing that provide essential customer touchpoints for businesses across the retail and banking sectors rely on powerful servers. They also keep businesses competitive and customers happy in an always-on world. 

Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies
Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies

Serving workplace transformation

But, as businesses grappled with pandemic disruptions, the focus was largely on adopting connected devices – and awe at the rapid increase in the datasphere.  As they reined in their budgets and attempted to do more with less, one aspect was perhaps overlooked—those hard working servers.

When it came to building resilience into a newly remote workforce, the initial concern was focused on the device endpoints – keeping employees productive.  Many companies did not initially consider whether they had the server infrastructure to enable the entire workforce to log in remotely at the same time. As a result, many experienced a plethora of teething problems: virtual office crashes, long waits to get on servers, and sluggish internet connectivity and application performance, often rendering the shiny new PC frustrating and useless.

Most businesses only had a few outward-facing servers that could authenticate remote workers – a vital gateway as the vector for cyber hacks and attacks increased exponentially. That’s not to mention the fact that many business applications simply weren’t designed to work with the latency required for people working from home. What businesses discovered at that moment was that their plumbing was out of date.  

Business and IT leaders quickly realised that to stay ahead of the curve in the hybrid working world, a renewed focus on building agile, adaptable, and flexible IT infrastructures was critical. More importantly, it accelerated the inevitable digital transformation that would keep them competitive in a data-driven economy. It is now abundantly clear to businesses that they need IT infrastructure to meet the demands of diverse workloads – derive intelligent insights from data, deploy applications effectively, and enhance data management and security.  

Ripe for a digital revolution

Unsurprisingly, IDC noted that there was an increase in purchases of server infrastructure to support changing workloads. However, it also forecasts this uptick will be sustainable and last beyond the pandemic. As the economy begins to reopen, business leaders are looking ahead. IT will continue to play a crucial role in 2021 and beyond – and we have already set the foundations for the digital revolution with next-generation servers. 

As we enter the zettabyte era, new innovative technologies are coming on stream, with 5G turbocharging IoT and putting edge computing to work.  Exciting new services improved day-to-day efficiencies, and the transformation of our digital society will be underpinned by resilient IT infrastructures.  By embracing the technological innovations of our next-generation servers, businesses keep pace with the coming data deluge.

The next generation of server architecture promises more power with less heat, thanks to improved, directed airflow, and direct liquid cooling, resulting in reduced operational costs and environmental impact. As we rebuild post-pandemic, manufacturers and customers alike strive to achieve ever more challenging sustainability goals. With this in mind, a focus on environmentally responsible design is imperative for the servers of tomorrow -  uniquely designed chassis for adaptive cooling and more efficient power consumption will be critical, improving energy efficiency generation over generation.

The most notable evolution is the configuration of these next-gen servers around more specific organisational needs. Unlike clunky and often unstable legacy infrastructure, the infrastructure of tomorrow will be sturdier and more modular. The next iteration is streamlined, and in this modular form, can be more easily tailored to business needs. This equates to essential cost savings as businesses only pay for what they use.  

Resolving the problem of the future, today

Tomorrow's IT challenges will focus on response times and latency as Edge and 5G technologies go mainstream. As businesses develop new and innovative services that utilise supercharged connectivity and real-time analytics, staying on top of these challenges will give them a competitive edge. For example, in the world of retail, automation will power new virtual security guards and even the slightest delay in the data relay could result in financial loss. 

Similarly, in the smart cities of tomorrow, the network must be responsive. With city-centre traffic lights controlled by an AI-powered camera that monitors pedestrians, delays in data transfers could cost the life of an elderly pedestrian who has fallen in the road. The stakes are far higher in a 5G-enabled world. As our reliance on technology deepens, the margins for error narrow, placing greater emphasis on the efficiency of those critical underpinning technologies.

Fully enabling the hybrid work model today is just a stepping-stone towards more fluid, tech-enabled lives. A work Zoom call from an automated vehicle on-route to an intelligent transport hub is a highly probable vision of our future. But it requires incredible amounts of compute and seamless data transfers to make it possible. These glossy snapshots need super servers to come to life, making that IT plumbing glisten with next-gen innovation essential. Without exemplary server architecture, we risk future tech advances and the human progression that it enables. 

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