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A Grid too far?

It's quite something isn't it - grid technology - the concept of a super computer at your disposal, able to provide high performance computing resources to your entire IT estate.

However, rather than hark on about latency and proximity concerns that also challenge grid deployments  many IT managers are discovering there is the spectre of significant opportunity cost lurking behind the scenes: power,  cooling and to a lesser extent the physical space required.

Running a grid is not simple - if you're an investment bank that has various 'farms' of servers and been thinking how to cut down on the blades and move to a grid approach to achieve linear scalability you've still got the issue of power and cooling to conquer!

Is there another option?  Ian Posner thinks so... he's a passionate advocate of performance - profiling, tuning and accelerating mission critical applications so that they bring more bang for buck.   Today Ian and I shot the breeze over how to get round the power/cooling/cost challenge through re-engineering.

Instead of moving to a grid there are other options that one can investigate - addressing the issue of engineering one should conduct due diligence on the market in acceleration products - one company in particular has begun to stand out from the crowd: ClearSpeed - rather than regurgitate content here's a link to their raison d'être.

Tactically, this approach is very appealing - running acceleration cards in critical servers alleviates the need for more complex solutions such as application virtualisation.

If this got your juices flowing then this presentation should let them loose :-) 

 

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Comments: (3)

Zennon Kapron
Zennon Kapron - Kapronasia - Shanghai 08 October, 2007, 04:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is actually exactly the challenge that Intel was facing over the past years on Wallstreet.  Intel for years had been chasing Moore's law and speed, speed, speed.  AMD came along and started to offer a product that offered better perf/watt/thermal. 

In 2004 when I was at Intel, we constantly had firms saying, 'yeah, we like your product, but because we can only get X million watts into our datacenter, we're going with AMD, because we can fit 2,000 of their servers in the same power profile that we fit 1,500 of yours and still have enough power left to power the aircon.

The dynamics have changed now as Intel's product line has improved dramatically, but AMD really showed how reading the market correctly read the market and come up with products that actually met the market's need.

It will be interesting to see where the industry heads with this.  Semiconductor companies are constantly creating better perf/watt/therm products and software companies like clearspeed are closing the gap through software, yet we still have companies like MS producing things like Vista giving us power hungry features that we never thought we needed.

Ed Daniel
Ed Daniel - esdaniel.com - Europe 08 October, 2007, 18:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Indeed, Sun has also done plenty in this area with their latest innovations in chip design.
Ed Daniel
Ed Daniel - esdaniel.com - Europe 15 November, 2007, 13:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Besides ClearSpeed another one to watch is Azul!

http://www.azulsystems.com/

Ed Daniel

Ed Daniel

Senior Consultant, getting old you know ;-)

esdaniel.com

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