Tuesday, August 24, 2010

XIV Is Cool, But Not Cool Enough

Now that I’ve gotten your attention, I have to say I love this box. It takes fairly inexpensive components and makes them sing. The real magic comes in two forms, grid computing and the algorithms that power it.

Back in the 90s, I used to install supercomputers across the USA. These were the deep blue variety that played Garry Kasparov in chess and eventually beat him. Supercomputers were being used to do many high performance computing tasks from analyzing road wear and tear to chemistry, data mining, nuclear simulation and weather forecasting. My wife would ask me if they wore capes.

The industry was going along fine, until some people decided to take inexpensive commodity Intel servers and network them together with a high-speed network, and distributing the workload amongst the different processing nodes. This is when grid computing took down the supercomputing heavyweights.