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HPC sites offer growth potential for co-processors, Big Data

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HPC sites? Big Data? co-processors? accelerators? high performance computing?

In the past two years, high performance computing (HPC) sites that use accelerators and co-processors have grown two-fold. Two-thirds of these sites are currently performing Big Data analysis as part of their workload. This is according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Study of HPC End-User Sites.

The 2013 study included sites representing 905 HPC systems, more than double the 488 systems profiled in the 2011 version of the study, IDC announced at the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig.

The study noted that the proportion of sites employing co-processors or accelerators in their HPC systems jumped from 28.2 per cent in the 2011 version of the study to 76.9 per cent in 2013. Co-processors/accelerators advanced from slightly more than 1 per cent of all processor parts in 2011 to 3.4 per cent in 2013, with Intel Xeon Phi co-processors and NVIDIA GPUs running neck and neck for leadership, and FPGAs in a respectable third-place position. The use of co-processors and accelerators is still wider than it is deep, meaning that these newer devices have entered many more sites but are often still used for exploratory purposes.

According to the 2013 study, 67 per cent of the sites in the study said they perform Big Data analysis on their HPC systems, with 30 per cent of the available computing cycles devoted on average to Big Data analysis work. IDC did not ask about Big Data analysis in the 2011 version of the study.

The 2013 end-user study also confirmed the IDC supply-side research finding that storage is the fastest-growing technology area at HPC sites. The proportion of sites exploiting cloud computing to address parts of their HPC workloads rose from 13.8 per cent in 2011 to 23.5 per cent in 2013, with public and private cloud use about equally represented among the 2013 sites.

"The most surprising finding of the 2013 study is the substantially increased penetration of co-processors and accelerators at HPC sites around the world, along with the large proportion of sites that are applying Big Data technologies and methods to their problems," said Earl Joseph, program president for technical computing at IDC.

The 2013 edition of the "IDC Worldwide Study of HPC End-User Sites" study consists of six reports. The topics covered in the reports are processors and co-processors/accelerators, storage and interconnects, applications software, systems software and operating systems, high performance data analysis (Big Data needing HPC), and cloud computing.

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