However, Intel officials say the x86-based Xeon Phi chips—the Knights Landing chips could come later in 2014—are a key part of their neo-heterogeneity pitch, noting that while HPC environments will use both processors and coprocessors or accelerators, Xeon Phi enables Intel to offer common and familiar underlying programming model and tools. The company in June began giving glimpses of what to expect from Knights Landing.
Organizations running HPC environments are showing interest in the Xeon Phi coprocessors as well as GPU accelerators. According to organizers of the Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers released Nov. 18, 53 of those 500 systems use either coprocessors or accelerators—38 use Nvidia GPUs, 13 systems have Intel’s Xeon Phi and two use AMD’s Radeon technology. In addition, four of the 10 fastest systems use them: Two run on Nvidia GPUs and two on Xeon Phi.
At the same time, more enterprises also are looking at HPC systems for their data centers, particularly given the growing capabilities and the lower prices. Where once such systems were the domains of nations and well-funded institutions, increasingly enterprises can afford them, and know they need to, Intel’s Curley said.
“If you have a competitor using that technology and you aren’t, you are at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.
Along with the continued development of Xeon Phi, Intel officials at the show also noted other efforts they’re making in the HPC space. Intel announced its HPC Distribution for Apache Hadoop, which combines Intel’s Distribution for Apache Hadoop and the company’s Enterprise Edition of Lustre. The combination gives enterprises a solution for storing and processing large data sets. At the same time, Intel rolled out its Cloud Edition for Lustre, offering a scalable, parallel file system that is available via the Amazon Web Services Marketplace.
The new Lustre solution is a pay-as-you-go product aimed at dynamic applications such as rapid simulation and prototyping, according to Intel officials. It also can help when HPC workloads need to rapidly move to the cloud, they said.