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Recap of SC22

Topics around HPC, AI, ML, data centers optimization with energy and cooling dimensions

The Super Computing show, the annual leading international conference and expo for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis took place a few days ago in Dallas, TX, for its 2022 edition. The last time this conference happened in Dallas was in 2018 and the last “normal” (before Covid) has taken place in Denver, CO in 2019.

For this recent show, organizer claims to have 11,000 physical attendees without considering online users. Attendees came from all the planet, the event confirming its role in the domain.

We count more than 300 exhibitors with a huge presence of research centers and universities as this conference illustrates the link and collaboration between vendors and scientific human forces. Even if the event was pretty similar to before Covid editions, we noticed some absences in the storage landscape with Hitachi Vantara, NetApp, Qumulo or WD. On the other hand, some players like HPE, Microsoft, Nvidia, Penguin Solutions, Vast Data and Weka had pretty large booths but surprisingly we saw some ridiculous booths from others.

This year’s topics have been around HPC, AI, ML, Data centers optimization with energy and cooling dimensions. CXL was also a visible topic with a dedicated zone reserved for the CXL Consortium with several players demonstrating and pitching solutions and state of the art.

Like every year at the show it was the opportunity to unveil the Top500 and IO500 lists and rankings. This recent Top500 is the 60th one. In term of storage, these lists show lots of parallel file systems instances with Lustre deployed among others by DDN, Weka, some IBM Spectrum Scale, ThinkParQ BeeGFS, a bit of CephFS, Quobyte and proprietary ones plus highly scalable distributed object storage with Intel DAOS.

Vast Data is also present in this IO500 list promoting a highly scalable NAS that started to compete seriously with parallel file system models. It had also one of the biggest booths in the center of the expo and confirmed to have generated $1 billion in revenue in 4 years of sales with a hyper growth trajectory.

Weka did a big splash with its large visible presence and its $135 million series D announcement.

Tuxera was present as well as its Fusion File Share for SMB services is used by several vendors present at the show. And, as usual, open source is closely associated with these topics at a majority of booths.

NVMe and its companion NVMe-oF, were everywhere also as the preferred storage connectivity and associated SSD/flash media, plus of course InfiniBand.

GRAID Technology presents at the ASUS booth and Pliops at the Tyan one, confirming the battle between server vendors to embed some intelligent data services cards. Following recent doubts about its state followed a lay-off, Nyriad demonstrates its UltraIO product leveraging its advanced IO controller coupled with HDDs. Pretty surprising in the era of NVMe but the price/performance dimension seems to be attractive for secondary storage and some developments for primary storage as well.

Data Management was a key topic covered by multiple booths with even promotion from hardware vendors. Atempo, with its own booth, has an interesting presence at several partners booths combined with announcements, but also with iRods, Arcitecta, PoINT Software and Systems, StarFish or SpectraLogic. We didn’t see StrongLink.

Composability was also visible with Liqid and GigaIO and also with CXL special zone mentioned above with UniFabrix, IntelliProp, Elastic.Clouds, Astera Labs, Intel, Microchip, Samsung or Xconn Technologies among others. CXL will bring memory composability with expansion, pooling and later fabric mode. Intel will announce its 4th gen Xeon processors family with Sapphire Rapids January 10, 2023 and then officially supports CXL 1.1. CXL 2.0 will appear with Granite Rapids and PCIe Gen 6 and CLX 3.0 with Diamond Rapids. Micron demonstrated CXL on its booth and not at the CXL Consortium zone.

On the GPU side, of course Nvidia was very visible making several announcements, same thing for dedicated AI companies such SambaNova Systems, Graphcore and Cerebras and we also discovered Groq.

Among various announcements made during the show by exhibitors, we selected: