Supercomputing 2013 in Snowy, Cold Denver

Wow, has it been a year already since Salt Lake City?  Apparently so, since the biggest and brightest brains converged on Denver last week for the annual pilgrimage to see all things Top500 and HPC.  For those of you who could not make it, I will try and convey a firsthand account of what is new and interesting.PostShowReview

What’s new???  Honestly not a lot this year was truly new, but what was interesting was the pervasiveness of “Software Defined” hardware platforms.  Software defined EVERYTHING… The buzz and drone of software defined infrastructure was everywhere, servers, storage and of course networking.

Software defined  networking was all over the place, from big guys like Brocade and Arista, to high speed specialists like Calient all showing off their support for OpenFlow APIs.  Also represented was the largest national SDN, Internet2 which is now a 100GE open network that employs OpenFlow standards across their platform as well.

Storage had more than its fair share of participants discussing the latest and greatest from acceleration layers and flash appliances, to big data and analytics, to scale out and everything in between.  I know we have been hearing about consolidation in the storage marketplace, but that was not evident here at SC13, over 100 exhibitors were showcasing storage of some type, so much for consolidation.

The buzz again this year for the Top500 was NVIDIA and their GPUs, and how pervasive they are becoming in the list.  Over 10% of the Top500 now use some type of accelerator with NVIDIA garnering the lion’s share. Otherwise the Top500 was fairly quiet, especially at the top with only one new addition to the top 10!

Cooling all these systems was again a hot topic with nearly 20 companies now showing off some type of liquid assisted cooling.  Most of the technologies were proprietary, but there were quite a few standalone independent technologies showcased including two in our booth, CoolIT and Chilldyne.

All in all it was a well attended show, not as big as I remember last year being, but still lively and active.  The attendance from the Universities and their students seemed down, but there were a lot of commercial and enterprise attendees to make up for them.  Well, next year we are back to Burbon Street in New Orleans (so the students will probably be back in full force), and we will have a whole new crop of scale out and scale up technologies coming, so perhaps it will be a bit more ”new” next time.  See you there.

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