Storage is the “Unsung Hero” of HPC

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Dell Technologies

The high performance computing (HPC) market isn’t just computing, and HPC storage isn’t just network attached storage (NAS). There are storage servers like the Dell EMC PowerEdge XE7100 with up to 100 hard drives. The Ready Solution for BeeGFS Storage combines Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, PowerSwitch networking and PowerVault storage to create a scalable HPC storage system. And there are external storage systems such as Dell EMC PowerScale that not only have Intel® Xeon® processors inside, but also have the OneFS file system.

As technology is rapidly evolving and the line between servers and storage blurs, the HPC market is growing to encompass new use cases across a widening variety of industries, workloads and customer types. Traditional HPC workloads, focused on research and engineering, are continuing to grow and expand, even as artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance data analysis (HPDA) are mainstreaming and gaining traction in traditional HPC environments as well as in the commercial enterprise market.

According to a recent white paper by Hyperion Research, what might be getting overlooked during this market shift is HPC storage. “From a technology perspective, between the growing number of compute options and emphasis on delivering exaFLOPs-class performance, computational capabilities receive the lion's share of attention…Storage, however, operates in relative obscurity.”

However, HPC storage is a critical element of an HPC system. Hyperion Research states that “storage is the linchpin and common denominator for [HPC]. Without reliable, performant 24/7 access to secure and trusted data whenever, wherever, and however it's required, the scientific discoveries and business value for HPC/AI/HPDA solutions would not be possible.”

Delivering HPC storage solutions is complex and becoming more so as AI adoption grows. Both traditional HPC shops and new enterprise users need technology suppliers that can provide best-in-class physical solutions along with the domain expertise to assist them with capturing the full value of AI, HPC and HPDA investments.

As Hyperion Research notes, storage suitable for HPC “doesn't just happen. Best-in-class storage solutions require a deep understanding of a wide range of parameters including I/O profiles, workloads, use cases, data types and datacenter type.” The paper goes on to say that “understanding and balancing performance, availability, resiliency, capacity and budgetary requirements will continue to determine the overall technical and business success of an HPC storage system.”

Hyperion Research believes that customers can be confident selecting Dell Technologies as an HPC storage partner. The analyst firm states that, “as the global server and storage leader in the traditional enterprise market and the fastest growing HPC server vendor, Dell Technologies is well positioned to serve the HPC storage community. Dell's array of HPC storage-related tools (broad product portfolio, growing suite of tested and certified solutions, HPC and scientific domain expertise, cloud offerings, service and support) merit consideration from users who are deciding on their HPC solutions partner in general, and HPC storage partner in particular.”

“Dell's broad HPC storage portfolio is a powerful combination of internally developed solutions and partnered offerings. This portfolio covers the spectrum from individual storage elements to certified turnkey systems targeted for specific scientific and business domains, providing a wealth of options for users.”

For the full story, see the Hyperion Research white paper “HPC Storage: The Unsung Hero of HPC Solutions,” and watch the webinar.

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