Video: Seagate Steps up to HPC

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In this video from SC14, Ken Claffey from Seagate describes how the company is doubling down on high performance computing with its ClusterStor technology.

Full Transcript:

Ken Claffey: Hey Rich. Good to see you again.

insideHPC: Oh, yeah. It’s always a pleasure. You Xyratex guys are like family.

Ken Claffey: Another year rolls around, it’s another SC conference.

insideHPC: Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, you’ve been part of this Seagate company now from that Xyratex acquisition for a while now. But I’ve got one question for you: Is Seagate serious about HPC?

Ken Claffey: So it was interesting. I just came from our first ever Seagate-HPC user forum. As I said at the opening, that not only was it our first Seagate-HPC user forum, it was actually one of the first user forums that Seagate has ever done.

We had overwhelming attendance – approximately 300 end users. One of the things that I closed my talk with there, was the theme of New Orleans this year is “HPC matters”. As I finished with, HPC really matters to Seagate. So a number of reasons why we’re here today, and as you can see, we’ve a great attendance here.

One of the things that Seagate’s really focused on, is we want to work with those customers who are really the pioneers of our industry – those who are track leading, taking on the most challenging problems, and really jointly innovating defined solutions. Because we believe those solutions that we jointly innovate with those partners will really help define the next generation data center, the next generation storage infrastructure. And it’s something that you’re very well aware of, really, this convergence, and I think you see it all around the show. It’s the convergence of HPC and Big Data, and obviously as a storage company, being at the epicenter of that conversion is a key part of, indeed a cornerstone of, our strategy. So to answer your question, I’d say, “Deadly serious.”

insideHPC: Okay, okay. I saw the roster of speakers you had. Some real thought leaders in this industry, right?

Ken Claffey: Yeah, absolutely. We had a Gary Grider there from LANL, and Gary was talking about the new Trinity system. Very happy to have Gary as a customer, so we’re obviously partnering with Cray as part of that Trinity system. It was really interesting that back in 2012-2013, we had another customer who was there today – NCSA, Bill Kramer, who I think you know – and we were looking at when we broke the sound barrier, so to speak, of getting the world’s first terabyte a second production system. Bill was talking about how we’re still today sustaining over a terabyte a second, even in production.

insideHPC: So it wasn’t a stunt?

Ken Claffey: It wasn’t. Unlike other people who will remain nameless– [laughter]. We’re still in production today, several years later. And then you’re talking with Gary, who’s talking about what we’re doing for Trinity, which is going to be a near two-terabyte a second file system, again partnering with our friends at Cray on that. So again you’re just going to continue to see that, frankly, the top leaders in this industry are using our technology and advocating Seagate’s role in the community.

insideHPC: Okay. So just share with us, what were your goals coming into this show?

Ken Claffey: Actually, you hit the nail on the head. Whenever a company is acquired, there’s always questions of: Are they going to continue to invest? What direction are they going to go? Is this a bit different? People will just think of Seagate as a disk drive company, right? And part of what we’re getting across here in the Seagate user forum is, absolutely, do we deal with disk drives? Of course we do.

We just had a– one of my colleagues, Tim Rausch, just did a fantastic presentation on Hammer, which is where disc drives are going to be for 2017-2018. And at that time we’re really getting into the world of Exa-scale. Also then we had another one of my colleagues talk – which was from another acquisition that Seagate did, from LSI Avago, of their whole flash division – talking about where we see next generation flash technology, nan-technology going.

And really that’s part of the message, right? Is getting people to understand that, Seagate is very committed to the HPC space, and when you think about Gary’s presentation on the Exascale IO stack, he talks about flash, burst buffers, high performance parallel file system, campaign storage, ultimately eating away at tape at the bottom end. You think about the technologies that Seagate has – core technology and flash, core technology and high performance disc drives, core technology and high capacity, low power, energy-efficient disc drives – and of course what we do in the systems group is, we take that core technology, marry it with open source file systems such as Lustre, and really bring it together as a full solution.

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