Enterprise HPC News Weekly Wrap-up for June 08, 2007

In this week's enterprise HPC summary Sun releases its new blade platform, partners speculate that Barcelona isn't ready, Google acquires PeakStream with possible implications for the entire software industry, and much more.

Here's a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week's enterprise HPC news stream as reported at insideHPC.com.

  • Sun releases version 12 of its Studio parallel IDE
  • New development release of the Globus Toolkit available for download
  • Platform released version 7.0.1 of its LSF workload management software
  • Gallup adopts GigaSpaces’ Space-Based Architecture technology to improve the performance of the Gallup “g platform”
  • GemStone Systems and ObjectWave form partnership to deliver data caching and distributed data sharing
  • HP announced that they’re releasing new virtualization software and targeting tools to help customers move from Sun to HP

Sun announces new blades

Sun this week announced its new Sun Blade 600 line. The new blades can be configured with Sun’s own Ultrasparc T1, Intel Xeon, or AMD Opteron processors running Solaris, Windows, or Linux.

The range of supported chips makes Sun’s offering fairly versatile and offers both 4 and 8 core processor options for customers. These blades will form the foundation of Sun's performance offering for both the enterprise and high performance technical computing markets. More in the press release.

Barcelona demo’d at 1.6 GHz, partners question July launch

There was a lot of news following this week’s demonstrations of Barcelona (AMD’s forthcoming quad-core processor) running applications. One of the more interesting stories about what was shown at Computex yesterday comes from DailyTech.

One vendor demonstrated Barcelona to DailyTech running at 1.6GHz. Current AMD Barcelona samples are not scaling too well. AMD partners confirmed the highest running, POST and OS capable, Barcelona processor is 2.0 GHz. AMD previously posted benchmarks of a simulated 2.6 GHz Barcelona…AMD roadmaps show Barcelona-based Opteron processors will launch in July, but the general consensus from partners is the processor isn’t performing well enough for a July launch.

If the partners aren’t sure the product is ready to sell, that puts a pretty big question mark on the horizon for me. A delayed AMD quad-core could really hurt their position in the high end computation market in the short term.

AMD, for its part, maintains so far that everything is right on schedule. But if they are involved in what’s going on with supercomputer vendor Cray right now, however, then “on time” is probably not the whole story.

Google acquires PeakStream

Google announced this week that it had acquired PeakStream, Inc. You’ll recall that the company makes development software that turns single threaded software into multi-threaded software ready to run on GPGPUs and multi-core chips (we’ve covered PeakStream before.

The Register argues that this is potentially a big deal for our community, and I agree.

The problem is that the software industry at large (not just the high performance computing segment) is heading for what most agree is a big problem: single threaded software on multi-core processors. Two companies had sprung up to deal with this challenge, RapidMind and PeakStream. It appears with this acquisition that PeakStream is out of the picture for everyone but Google. From The Register’s article

“Our most recent chats with relevant parties confirm that Google has no intentions of selling the PeakStream tools to chip, server or software makers. …In addition, we’re hearing that Google has little more than passing interest in crafting code to run on GPGPUs - the most immediate promise of an independent PeakStream’s technology. Rather, Google ate up the PeakStream talent to develop better multi-threaded code capable of traversing x86 chips.”

This leaves us to hope that RapidMind, or some other startup, can carry the load for the entire industry with tools that matter.

John West summarizes the HPC news headlines every day at insideHPC.com, and writes on leadership and career issues for technology professionals at InfoWorld. You can contact him at john@insidehpc.com.

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