[Beowulf] Pricing and Trading Networks: Down is Up, Left is Right

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Sat Feb 18 12:33:33 PST 2012

> Why is quadrics bankrupt?
> Why has everyone forgotten about myri as high performance network?
> Why is itanium end of line?
> Simple - they don't perform well and/or were too expensive.

false.  they didn't execute well enough.

quadrics owned HPC for a while, but didn't execute properly in 
tansitioning past qsnet2.  they could have nipped IB in the bud.
imagine if quadrics had managed to ship 10Gb VM-aware adapters
as well as intelligent switching fabrics, and quickly moved to 
40Gb and DCE-like wire-level features.

myrinet also lost its place in HPC, probably for similar reasons,
though it isn't quite gone.  its current product line seems focused
on high-freq trading, though I have no idea how well they succeed.
ironically, MX, with 3-4 us latency, is still reasonably attractive.

I have no idea why quadrics and myricom didn't manage to win by 
following the ethernet(ish) path.  perhaps it was just the drag
induced by the rest of the eth world, since they would have needed
to make 40Gb prevalent several years ago to compete with IB.

itanium, as well, succeeded in a limited domain, but suffered
because Intel wasn't willing to commit to it instead of facing 
the threat of AMDs x86_64 head-on.  was it the right approach?
I still think VLIW is a mistake ISA-wise, but perhaps if Intel
had put as much ingenuity into it as they did into >=nehalem,
it might have succeeded.

all three cases are failures of execution.

> The entire discussion here and the entire mailing list is interested
> in reliability and performance.

HPC is about performance; reliability is only of interest when it 
becomes a threat to performance.

> I really doubt you know anything about selling a performance product
> if all you care about it time to market :)

poor execution becomes a failure precisely because of time-to-market.
specifically, the three examples have failed because poor execution
let alternatives arrive in the market ahead of them.

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