As the technology of high performance computing becomes more complex, for example, with the arrival of GPU accelerators, Intel co-processors, and so on – and as customers’ needs become more complex – what is the scope for integrators to serve the market?
My view is that integrators are vital, because there is no one Tier 1 provider such as IBM or Fujitsu that supplies the whole HPC solution. The solutions themselves are now far more complex than they were previously. There is a requirement to balance the compute and the I/O to make the system efficient, and to get intelligent scheduling to ensure that time is not wasted – there isn’t a Tier 1 that does all that.
But it is not just the technology that is becoming more complex. The purposes to which users put their systems are also evolving. Systems are now becoming multipurpose and are required to be production machines serving internal customers – like an internal cloud. There’s a far greater requirement for things other than the ‘tin’ to make it work efficiently. That’s why there needs to be an integrator, as opposed to a reseller. The HPC system needs to be ‘designed’ not just sold for purpose. Continue reading