Saturday, November 26, 2011

The quest for a cloud using Many-Core processors

Just as we learned the cloud is SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, our minds were geared into the desktop / servers processors produced by Intel and AMD mostly. The many virtualization packages declared themselves cloud, in reality facilitated the management  of resources, but virtualization by itself does no management whatsoever.

In June 2011, Tilera unveiled the "Cloud Computing Processor"
TILE-Gx™ 3000 processor family specifically designed for today’s most common cloud computing applications. Co-developed with some of the world’s largest Internet brands, the TILE-Gx 3000 processors are optimized for cloud datacenters.
Although Tilera does not name these "world's largest Internet Brands", we know Facebook is one of them. The reference is  Facebook Sides With Tilera in The Server Architecture Debate. Quote
Low-power many-core processors are well suited to KV- store workloads with large amounts of data. Despite their low clock speeds, these architectures can perform on-par or better than comparably powered low-core-count x86 server processors. Our experiments show that a tuned version of Memcached on the 64-core Tilera TILEPro64 can yield at least 67% higher throughput than low-power x86 servers at comparable latency. When taking power and node integration into account as well, a TILEPro64-based S2Q server with 8 processors handles at least three times as many transactions per second per Watt as the x86-based servers with the same memory footprint.
 As this is not already mind boggling, Tilera and Adpateva have strikingly similar many core architectures able to reach 4096 cores per processor. Yes you read well. In about two years,  245  processors will create a 1 million cores cloud, with a power consumption at a fractions of the behemoth supercomputer today

Here is Adapteva Epiphany CPU

 And here is Tilera Tile-Gx CPU

They look quite similar, don't they? Quote
Tilera's iMesh™ on-chip network. Each tile is a complete full-featured processor, including integrated L1 and L2 cache and a non-blocking switch that connects the tile into the mesh. This means that each tile can independently run a full operating system, or multiple tiles taken together can run a multi-processing operating system like SMP Linux.
The primary markets for the Epiphany multicore architecture include:  (1) Smartphone applications such as real time facial recognition, speech recognition, translation, and augmented reality. (2) Next generation supercomputers requiring drastically better energy efficiency to allow systems to scale to exaflop computing levels. (3) Floating point acceleration in embedded systems based on field-programmable gate array architectures.

This is ambitious. Adapteva name comes from Hebrew and it To adapt to Nature This has both a poetic and visionary connotation.

This technology is great, but there is a revolution in the way we write applications. Zynga and Twitter are also attracted by Tilera architecture and hiring software engineers to make their apps optimized..

A lack of supporting ecosystem, applications and proven tools around Tilera are a challenge.Tilera must encourage and create a new breed of agile and smart multi-core programming experts  to facilitate  the mass adoption of Tilera.  Performance however requires a bridge to migrate from the mediocre X86 to many-core computers.

Soon, the cloud as we know it, will be history. So will be the virtualization software in it's present day incarnation. The cloud many-core may take over, which eventually may fit in one or two racks

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The quest for a cloud

I can't get no satisfaction
I can't get no satisfaction
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no

When I'm drivin' in my car
And the man comes on the radio
He's tellin' me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to drive my imagination

I can't get no, oh no, no, no
Hey, hey, hey, that's what I say

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A personal look: Super Computing 2011

SC11 Logo Reverse
Here is  a quote from my blog about 2009 Super Computing conference commenting on the purpose of the TOP500 list
So what? Many people ask this question today. "So what?" The business model this list promotes brought the bankruptcy of SGI, Thinking Machines, Cray Research, SiCortex and many who designed supercomputers based on one criteria: to pass a LINPACK test. This was originally introduced in 1979, 30 years ago. It tests the floating point and little more. LINPACK tells nothing of how easy is to solve complex problems with a given supercomputer.
Sure Science and Defense need these supercomputers. They always did. However, once one developed such a winner, it was difficult, if not impossible to sell it to a commercial entity, who also needs these powerful computers, but they must make money from the investment

What you see about is this year TOP500 winner, Riken K computer
As of the November 2011 TOP500 list, the K computer uses 88,128 2.0GHz 8-core SPARC64 VIIIfx processors packed in 864 cabinets, for a total of 705,024 cores, manufactured by Fujitsu with 45 nm CMOS technology. Each cabinet contains 96 compute nodes in addition to 6 IO nodes. Each compute node contains a single processor and 16 GB of memory. The computer's water cooling system minimizes failure rate and power consumption. 
As it is today, the computer uses power as ten thousands suburban homes and the water cooling reduces the failure rate, but there is no word about what the real number is. For the next year the plan is to double the number of cabinets to nearly two thousands and probably the power consumption will reach the equivalent of twenty thousands homes.

In this spirit, I wonder whether the SC11 is not a the equivalent of TOP500 pharonic pyramides. We live in the green era, yet SC11TOP 500  lives in the ancient history mentality. Here are the slides: the most interesting is the power consumption on slide 34, projected to grow with the steepest gradient for the Top 10 supercomputers
Top500 11/2011 BOF Slides

Whereas most computer shows are for meeting more customers, SC11 has no clear purpose. While I was there, I had to read on line what is going on. No one can see or witness it all. I think SC11 is all about to show off what humans can do with unlimited financial resources.

The huge booth of the Government Agencies on level 4 of the show, all paid with taxpayer money, explains why  Mitt Romney  (would be 2012 presidential aspirant) wants to eliminate the departments of Education and Energy.

We were lucky Mitt Romney did not attend SC11. Department of Energy  must continue to exist, but they can not control the specs of their procurement, simply because they have the money. I sincerely hope Fujitsu will survive and grow and not meet the fate of Thinking Machine and Cray Research.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is Steve Jobs a Syrian - American?

Since the name of his biological father was revealed as Abdulfattah “John” Jandali , Jobs is called a Syrian American. But Jandalli only learned that Jobs was his son “around 2005,” His first attempt at contacting Jobs came only in the last year, with casual e-mails.

But who are the most famous Syrian Americans? Wikipedia writes:
The overwhelming majority of Syrian immigrants to the US from 1880 to 1960 were Christian, a minority were Jewish, whereas Muslim Syrians arrived in the United States chiefly after 1965. According to the United States 2000 Census, there were 142,897 Americans of Syrian ancestry, about 12% of the Arab population in the United States.
How can Steve Jobs, - who never heard a word of Arab in his family, grew up in a Christian non-observant family and became a Buddhist - can be a Syrian American? Well it can. The list of Syrian Americans includes Jerry Seinfeld, whose father was a Hungarian Jew and the mother a Syrian Jew, Paula Abdul, also Jewish with family roots from Syria or singer Paul Anka, who is born in Ottawa his parents are of Syrian descent. He sang with the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church as a child.

By the same token, my wife is born in Israel in a Jewish family originating in Aleppo Syria. If Steve Jobs is a Syrian American, so my daughter and son fully qualify for this label

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Steve Jobs and the touch of ruthlessness

In The Razor Edge, W. Sommerset Maugham writes about the character Larry: “Larry lacks just that touch of ruthlessness that even the saint must have to win his halo.”

That "touch of ruthlessness" is all over the biography of Steve Jobs, We transformed him in a new God. Steve's talents and achievements are blended with this ruthlessness he must have "to win his halo", This is obvious from the book of Isaacson, Commented by Steven Shankland
It would have been impossible, of course, to overlook Jobs' temper, his impatience, his brutal treatment of co-workers, his callous treatment of his first child, and his unforgiving separation of the world's population into A-team gods in the one corner and shitheads and bozos in the other.
Isaacson, while opining that the "nasty edge to his personality was not necessary," more often presents Jobs' harshness as effective. "Dozens of the colleagues whom Jobs most abused ended their litany of horror stories by saying that he got them to do things they never dreamed possible," Isaacson wrote.
Steve Jobs friendship with Larry Ellison, who never created any product, never was a Buddhist, or vegetarian and coolly decimated up to 60% of the companies he acquired. He is the darling of Wall Street, this institution that is blamed for our economic misfortune by demonstrators all over the world

Everyone says  Steve Jobs life will create a new model for the new entrepreneurs
It's not clear whether Jobs could have left a legacy that was more humanitarian--a sequel, perhaps, to the HP Way that Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard established at Hewlett-Packard, a company that Jobs admired. It is clear, though, that Jobs couldn't be bothered to behave otherwise
Does it mean, in order to become a superhero entrepreneur, one has to become a super-jerk. It is happening already at Twitter See Interview: Bill Gross Talks About Twitter’s Clampdown 

Where is the Eudaimonic prosperity Umair Haque from Harvard U preaches? The Steve Jobs emulators have plenty of reasons to become obnoxious and moody, it is the license one gets for being a millionaire, adulated by masses of techno-crazed fans. And Silicon Valley will attach creativity with petty dictatorships licenses in order to create high tech employment.

Tweets on Cloud Expo 2011 West, Santa Clara

Here are the tweets I selected to summarize what I have seen

inetu INetU So what's the biggest thing everyone learned at #CloudExpo?

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz #cloudexpo most exhibitors are hosting services companies posing as cloud. They charge fixed subs

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz CEO Power Panel #cloudexpo. Only MÃ¥rten Mickos Eucalyptus & Lawrence Guillory @Racemi made sense.

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz #cloudexpo No Google, no AWS, no Yahoo, no Joyent, no IBM well, yes Platform), no Univa

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz How to become a cloud company? Go to #cloudexpo, rent a booth, display whatever you have on a monitor, and say "This is our cloud offering"

khazret_sapenov Khazret Sapenov @myinnervoice :) perhaps same applies to big data company?

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz #cloudexpo Many interesting people have no booth

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz @CloudExpo #Oracle Public Cloud, they show the web site… Nothing is live.

sec_prof Phil Cox My quick thought on my first #CloudExpo #NotGoingToBeVeryPopular

myinnervoice Miha Ahronovitz "Tech entrepreneurs would be out of their minds to build out their own data centers rather than renting capacity"…

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