Let’s Hear It for Storage in HPC
In 2009, the worldwide HPC storage market was worth $3.0 billion. Storage is growing faster than HPC servers, owing to the data explosion from running increasingly large, complex HPC problems. But all is not well.
HPC system vendors have aggressively advanced peak processor speeds while paying less attention to storage. The areal densities of magnetic disks have increased dramatically, but not improvements to disk I/O performance and access density (the ability of many concurrent users to access stored data quickly).
The HPC sector’s aggregate storage capacity will grow by 2011 to roughly 6.5 exabytes. In relation to this data explosion, tomorrow’s HPC systems will be even more unbalanced (“flop-sided”) than today’s. The silver lining? Buyers are stressing storage more in their specs and budgets, and this is motivating storage vendors to innovate faster.
Steve Conway is IDC Research VP, HPC. He may be reached at editor@ScientificComputing.com.