HPE Tackles Phi, Debuts Mfg. Solution and New HPC Software Environment

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), now about eight months into its transition as a separate entity, retained the prestige of fielding the most systems of any vendor on the Top500 list announced at the ISC2016. HPE had 127 systems (25.4 percent) though the number was down from 155 just six months ago. Other ISC news included introduction of a vertical solution for manufacturing developed with ANSYS, announcement of expanded use of Intel (Knights Landing, Omni-Path) and Mellanox (EDR) technology, and the unveiling of a new HPE software environment for HPC.

To some extent the product announcements represent the end of HPE’s extensive refresh of its HPC line – transitioning earlier SL models into the Apollo portfolio. The news also highlighted HPE’s increasing effort to deliver purpose-built HPC solutions for select markets, said Bill Mannel, VP and GM, High Performance Computing, Big Data and IoT Servers for HPE.

Back in April HPE announced new server offerings including one targeting financial services (an optimized Apollo 2000) and another for deep learning (Apollo 6500), (see HPCwire article, HPE Expands HPC Lineup; Targets Deep Learning, Lustre, and FS). In June the company announced sale of its services business (see HPE Spins Off Services Unit in Merger with CSC). With the latest announcements, HPE’s high performance computing portfolio seems essentially complete.

The new manufacturing solution, said Mannel, “Principally focuses on the small and medium enterprise area. For the most part these customers are using high-end workstations whether one socket or dual. For them, the new solution is a good fit. It sits in a standard rack and provides many HPC capabilities quickly.” The plan is to bring the targeted solution to market via resellers while the CAE software for which it has been optimized is available through ANSYS.


Like many HPC vendors targeting the enterprise HPE’s strategy is to try to ease adoption pain of HPC for that market segment, said Mannel, “We’ve moved for the most part from sort of a semi-custom type of development to looking at market requirements and then designing solutions specifically optimized for HPC and big data.” This approach, it’s hoped, cam help users speed deployment and achieve faster ROI. Expect other vertical solutions from HPE, he said.

HPE also introduced a highly flexible software-defined platform for HPC using the new HPE Core HPC Software Stack with HPE Insight Cluster Management Utility v8.0 (Insight CMV). It’s designed to meet the needs of server cluster environments that may need to scale to thousands of compute nodes.

According to HPE, “The new software stack is a pre-integrated, pre-tested single software suite that combines open source-based application development tools, libraries, and compilers with HPE cluster management capabilities including HPE iLO and simple cluster set up tools. This suite enables developers, IT administrators, engineers and researchers to quickly and easily develop, test, deploy and manage their HPC environments.”

Mannel reports HPE had been supplying the software for a few customers already and was now taking the opportunity to roll it out more generally. At least one user has good things to say about the package. Peter Longreen, COO National Life Science Supercomputer, Technical University of Denmark, Deputy head ELIXIR Denmark is quoted in the press release saying, “HPE Insight CMU has provided us with comprehensive functionality to effectively manage our large cluster environment with rapid bare metal provisioning, simple monitoring with remote management and easy integration with a wide variety of cluster components.”

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