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Intersect360 Research Releases Predictions and Systems Site Surveyfor HPC in 2015

by Douglas Eadline
for Intersect360 Research
Mar 30, 2015
as published in Cluster Monkey


Intersect360 Research
has releases their top six predictions for 2015 and a recent Systems Site Survey. The "top six" report mentions many-core accelerators, flash storage, 3D memory, integrated networking, and optical interconnects as technologies that will push HPC this year. The Site Census report provides a detailed examination of the server systems installed at a sample of High Performance Computing user sites. The full reports are open to members of HPC500 and Intersect360 clients. The following is publicly released data from these reports.

Top Six Predictions Pinpoint Trends in Accelerators, Cloud, Big Data, and Shifting Vendor Market Dynamics

The drive toward exascale computing, a renewed emphasis on data-centric processing, energy efficiency concerns, and the limitations of memory and I/O performance are all working to reshape High Performance Computing platforms, according to Intersect360 Research’s Top Six Predictions for HPC in 2015.

The research firm cites many-core accelerators, flash storage, 3D memory, integrated networking, and optical interconnects as just some of the technologies propelling these future architectures. In concert with those developments, the churning of the HPC vendor landscape in response to broader market forces will drive interesting changes in the coming year.

Following the general trend of acceleration adoption over the past several years, in 2015 more than half of newly installed systems are expected to incorporate accelerators. On the other hand, public cloud will continue to be a small player in HPC, despite steady expansion of cloud computing for mainstream enterprise and web-based applications.

HPC system vendors will find their market share reshuffled to adjust for Tier One vendor changes, most notably IBM’s sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo and HP’s split into two entities. Vendor consolidation will continue, especially in the storage arena.

Another trend predicted for the coming year is the prevalence of big data capabilities, which are expected to become standard offerings on general-purpose servers and storage appliances. And lastly, ultrascale market influence will disrupt the supplier model as ultrascale market players have grown to the point where they have the buying power to influence product design and bypass traditional OEM suppliers.

“2015 will see increased architectural experimentation,” reports Chief Research Officer Christopher Willard, Ph.D. “Users will test both low-cost nodes and new technology strategies in an effort to find a balance between these options that delivers the best performance within user budgets.”

HPC User Site Census: Systems

The HPC User Site Census: Systems report, part of Intersect360 Research's Site Census series, provides a detailed examination of the server systems installed at a sample of High Performance Computing user sites. The market research firm surveyed a broad range of users about their current computer system installations, storage systems, networks, middleware, and the applications software supporting these computer installations. Other reports in this series include: HPC User Site Census: Applications; HPC User Site Census: Interconnects/Networks; HPC User Site Census: Middleware; andHPC User Site Census: Storage.

The goal in this report is to discover system-level trends within HPC user communities by examining supplier penetration, architecture trends, and node configurations.

Key findings of this Site Census survey include the following:

  • Dell, Lenovo, and HP were the top-named vendors out of 43 vendors in Intersect360 Research’s all-site database. The top five named vendors (also including SGI and Cray) captured 55% of the systems market. IBM, after holding one of the top two positions, moved to the number six position after the sell-off of its x86 business. Dell was the top-named vendor at academic and commercial sites, while sharing that position with Lenovo at government sites.
  • Dell, followed by Lenovo, was the top-named vendor for number of nodes installed when outliers (i.e., systems with 2,000 or more nodes) are excluded.
  • Two-processor nodes continue to dominate cluster installations at surveyed sites, with 66% market share. Four-processor nodes are installed on about 15% of the clusters. Both percentages have been relatively consistent over the past four years.
  • Multi-core processors represent the majority of systems shipped since 2006. For installations and upgrades in 2013+, single-core processors account for just 1% of systems. Eight-core processors hold the greatest share, followed by ten-core processors.
  • Memory usage per node and processor is growing. Average memory per core has almost doubled since 2009, resulting in average memory per node almost quadrupling in size. As core count increases, so will memory requirements, affecting system design and cost.
  • Accelerators are used on about 29% of the installed base of systems. Share of systems with accelerators increased slightly from 40% to 43% when comparing systems last modified in 2013+ to systems last modified in 2012.


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