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New home for orphaned Sun projects Comments Off on New home for orphaned Sun projects

There was always going to be some fallout from the Oracle takeover of Sun – projects that were still in the development phase, technologies that weren’t making enough money – and there have been questions about how the open source casualties would continue.

Izumo Shinohara, a recently ex Sun employee, has setup a new site – Red Giant Phase – which aims to provide a new home for these orphaned projects.

Currently listed are projects like Wonderland, Dark Star, and Project DReaM, amongst others.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens to these open sourced projects now that they’re outside Sun – I wish them all the best.

Optimising performance for parallel processing Comments Off on Optimising performance for parallel processing

Over at the Sun HPC Watercooler there’s a great video from Acumen CTO Professor Erik Hagersten about how to migrate legacy code to multicore architectures, and how to optimise performance for parallel architectures.

Finding single core processors in servers is almost impossible now, and with processors like Sun’s UltraSPARC T2+ and NVidia’s GPU solutions, parallel processing (and the associated performance issues) are going to be a hot topic over the next few years.

The full video can be viewed here – well worth a watch.

Flash Storage fun – and some NIS+ news Comments Off on Flash Storage fun – and some NIS+ news

A couple of Sun blog posts that make excellent Friday reading. Sun are coming up with some great applications of Flash storage technology, and it’s gratifying to see this sort of “Mad Science” R&D resulting in some solid commercial solutions.

First up, Benoit Chaffanjon explores the Sun Flash Accelerator F20 cards, which are used inside the Sun Oracle Database Machine.

Next, Adam Leventhal explores the pros and cons of mirroring or striping Logzilla devices in the Sun Storage 7000s.

Both posts are a great read and give solid examples of the ways solid state storage can be exploited for some really big performance and scalability gains.

And, on a totally unrelated note, a loathsome technology that I have long had a hate-hate affair with, NIS+, has been removed from Solaris! Ironic that NIS+ has been outlived by NIS, the technology it was designed to replace.

Interview with LANL researcher about using GPUs Comments Off on Interview with LANL researcher about using GPUs

Over on their nTersect blog NVidia have post an interesting interview with Pat McCormick, a Research Computer Scientist, at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). If you’ve ever wondered exactly how using GPUs for computation would work, or how much of a performance improvement it could bring to your workloads, you should watch this interview.

According to Pat, “Our research challenge is dealing with massive amounts of data, not only from the high performance computing aspect but how to analyze the data from simulations.”

This isn’t an HPC problem, it’s an issue that affects every business today. As storage expands and business needs grow, faster and more efficient methods of data analysis are needed – and GPUs seem to be offering the most cost-efficient way to solve this at the moment.

Sun’s research report on Hardware Transactional Memory Comments Off on Sun’s research report on Hardware Transactional Memory

Sun have released a technical report on Transactional Memory, based on their experiences with the (now sadly canned) ROCK processor. “Early Experience with a Commercial Hardware Transactional Memory Implementation” is available as a free download from Sun’s research website – you can grab it at http://research.sun.com/techrep/2009/abstract-180.html

From the abstract:

We report on our experience with the hardware transactional memory (HTM) feature of two revisions of a prototype multicore processor. Our experience includes a number of promising results using HTM to improve performance in a variety of contexts, and also identifies some ways in which the feature could be improved to make it even better. We give detailed accounts of our experiences, sharing techniques we used to achieve the results we have, as well as describing challenges we faced in doing so. This technical report expands on our ASPLOS paper [9], providing more detail and reporting on additional work conducted since that paper was written.

Anyone who’s interested in High Performance Computing (HPC) or performance gains from Transactional Memory should have a read through this paper – it’s interesting stuff.

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