Are you an AMAX fan and looking to win some prizes?  AMAX is kick-starting a prize giveaway program which each contest, we are offering a free gift card to one lucky contestant who sends us their best, creative answer to one of our questions!

How do you enter? It’s easy — Just make sure to follow AMAX on Twitter (@AmaxInfoTech) and look out for our tweet on the latest contest with the hashtag #amaxcontest, retweet our post to share to your friends, and send your answer to marcom@amax.com.

Our 1st Contest Tweet of the Week - What do you use #Hadoop for? Share us your story for a chance to win a @Starbucks giftcard!  #amaxcontest

Submit your answer by Thursday, 12/05/2013 before 11:00PM PST.  The winner with the best response will be announced on 12/06/2013.

Read Contest Rules Here!

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Massively Parallel GPU Computing.  Pretty cool stuff, right?  Who would have imagined 10 years ago that today, we’d be using GPUs (otherwise known as Graphics Processing Units) for computational research & calculation rather than for eye-popping 3D graphics!  Ok, MAYBE it’s not too far-fetched to think that Jen-Hsun Huang had already figured that out… Today, NVIDIA® enjoys accolades from both consumers (GeForce™ / Tegra™) and professionals (Tesla™ / Quadro™) alike.  They’ve effectively & successfully created GPUs that are capable of handling a range of tasks, from creating compelling, real-time visual effects in games, to modeling a Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s engines, to simulating the aerodynamics of a Ferrari LaFerrari.  Incredible, really.

AMAX ClusterMax SuperG GPU Cluster configurable with the latest Nvidia Tesla Kepler K10 / K20X GPU Accelerators

At AMAX, we may not do games, but we do build High Performance Compute clusters & servers that take full advantage of NVIDIA’s Tesla line of GPUs.  Our ClusterMax™ SuperG, for example, can be configured with Tesla K10 and K20 / K20X GPUs and is a real computational powerhouse of a machine.  The question is… which GPU is for you, and why?  That’s a common question that we come across and it’s not an answer that is ubiquitous among all users or all applications.  By solely looking at the specs, the K10 has greater SP (single precision) floating point performance than the K20 / K20X, but clearly lesser DP (double precision) performance.  So the choice is simple, right?  In the case where your application needs DP, then the choice is easily made – K20 / K20X takes the cake.  But with SP-focused applications, the decision is a bit fuzzier.  Let’s give a live example..

One of our customers, who requested to remain anonymous, recently acquired a startup company that specializes in neural networks.  The acquisition was made to enhance search algorithms and go beyond the traditional ability to identify pieces of content, images, voice, text and more.  The startup’s research is known to have profound implications on speech recognition, computer vision and machine language understanding.  But I digress… our friends have found that their proprietary application runs much better on a Tesla K20X compared to a Tesla K10 – even though their application is SP-focused.  When investigating why, they deduced the following:

“A K10 consists of two rather slow GPUs.  Together they’re quite powerful, and so a K10 is great if you intend to run two independent jobs on it.. or jobs that don’t need to communicate often.  A K20X consists of one VERY fast GPU.  This is what you should get if you need to run code that requires frequent communication.  We happen to run very big models, and because the various parts of the models have to communicate with each other frequently, they have to live on one GPU.  Therefore even though the K10 consists of two GPUs, the larger & faster single GPU ends up being more efficient for our purposes.”

By now you’re probably saying, “So I won’t really know which GPU is best for me without running my code on both!”  And in many cases, that statement would be correct.  But we can help!  At AMAX, we’ve set up a Tesla Test Drive program where you can run your code on a small-scale ClusterMax SuperG cluster… for FREE!  K10 vs K20 / K20X ?  We’ll help you find out first hand which GPU is right for you.  Pretty cool, right?

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Ok, so you’re familiar with the Xeon Phi 5110P.  It’s an x86 architecture many-core processor that has 60 cores with 4x HyperThreading, i.e., 240 logical cores. It comes as a PCIe-16x extension card, runs at 1.053GHz, and is equipped with 8GB high-bandwidth memory (320GB/s). The extension card runs it’s own Linux operating system and can be accessed by the host system either as a separate system, or via offloading sections of the code to the co-processor. Intel claims it delivers up to 1 Teraflops (double-precision).  Yep, that’s a lot of numbers to digest.  The point is, these coprocessors are very powerful!

Yesterday, we just announced that our systems have been updated to support the latest Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors – the 7120P and 3120P.  The Intel Xeon Phi 7120P was designed with the highest level of features and is Intel’s premium offering for the most demanding users.  The Intel Xeon Phi 3120P is ideal for compute bound workloads and is designed for a wide range of server and workstation usages.  With the introduction of both entry-level and high-end model Xeon Phi coprocessors, in conjunction with the mainstream 5110P model, we’ll now be able to offer a more complete range of cluster and server solutions to meet a users specific price, performance, and scalability metrics.

Why would someone want to give Xeon Phi a try?  Well, for starters… Efficient vectorization, threading, and parallel execution! The Intel Xeon Phi was optimized to deliver the highest levels of parallel performance and has shown the benefits of standards based programming models in financial services, weather, seismic, physics, finite element analysis, ray tracing applications.

Still skeptical?  How about we give you the opportunity to remotely test a Xeon Phi 7120P equipped server for free.  Yes, FREE!  No strings attached.  Promise.  Still there?  Head over to https://www.amax.com/hpc/testdrive.asp and fill out the brief form.  We’ll set up an appropriate time for you to test and provide you with the login videos.

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May has been a pretty eventful month for AMAX, and we are excited to say the least!  To kick things off, on May 6th, we announced our status as an official OCP solutions provider.  Now, that’s all fine and dandy…  “but where is the hardware that you speak of?” you’re probably asking.  Well, just two days after announcing that we would be one of but a handful of official OCP solution providers to serve the rapidly growing open compute community, we exclusively showed the actual hardware at the 2013 Interop IT conference & expo in Las Vegas!

Eli the Computer Guy did a brief video segment covering our OCP solutions at Interop. Thanks, Eli!

OCP is real, the technology & design principles for server technology are here to stay, and we at AMAX believe that it will truly revolutionize the way server hardware is designed & deployed.  Yes, OCP presents a great opportunity for AMAX (we wouldn’t invest if it didn’t make some sort of business sense, afterall), but it represents an even greater opportunity for our customers.  Previously, OCP hardware was reserved only for the big boys at Facebook, Google and others.  Why should the most efficient rack-level server solutions be locked away and kept only for the big guns of the industry?  After all, this is the OPEN compute project, right?  That’s what we said, too.  By heavily investing our engineering efforts and dollars into the open compute community, AMAX can now bring an even more efficient compute architecture to the masses!

Now, you could argue that opening up the hardware will lead to less differentiation in the market since everyone will be offering the same standardized hardware – but really, that’s already the case in the “whitebox” market.  And while it’s true that OCP efforts will further commoditize the hardware, the reality is that it takes an incredible amount of engineering expertise and know-how to integrate all of the individual pieces of open hardware as well as the corresponding software, no matter the application.  Many of our competitors may know how to build & test servers, and that’s great!  But that’s only the first step, and when it comes to deploying full turnkey, multi-rack solutions that power on and work as advertised (hardware & software), there are very few that can say with confidence, “it works!”  But AMAX can.  We’ve been in business since 1979, have always been at the forefront of technology, and have continued to push the envelope with new, open technologies that we can provide to the masses.

We hope you’re as excited about OCP as we are.

Towards the end of 2011, you may recall that AMAX took one giant step into the Big Data market by engineering & manufacturing a complete turnkey Big Data platform, bundled with Apache Hadoop, to answer the call of the growing market demand in the research, development and integration of large scale distributed clusters for big data processing & analysis.  But Big Data isn’t just a buzz word – it represents an enormous challenge and an even greater opportunity!  Understanding the importance of harnessing big data, the Obama Administration has announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, aimed at improving our ability to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data[1]!

AMAX’s PHAT-Data (Peta-Scale Hadoop Analytics Technology) was the result of immeasurable amounts of time and research into selecting the best components and tuning to maximize performance & efficiency of a Hadoop cluster.  The launch and introduction of PHAT-Data at popular tradeshows such as Interop & SuperComputing created an incredible amount of buzz throughout the industry and garnered significant interest from large enterprises and federal government agencies nationwide.  In fact, PHAT-Data was recognized as Best New Product of the Year in Computer Hardware in 2012[2]!

But technology never stands still.  Since 2011, PHAT-Data has further evolved with the release of PHAT-Data v2.0 and the implementation of the Intel® Distribution for Apache Hadoop Software.  The PHAT-Data platform sports real-time big data processing and analytics, contains the core components of the Hadoop framework, and now simplifies the deployment of Hadoop clusters with integrated wizards and automated optimization tools, and secures data with multi-level access controls and Kerberos data encryption[3]AMAX is one of the select few of Intel’s exclusive partners to offer this unique solution.  Be sure to check out the PHAT-Data v2.0 press release and our newly redesigned PHAT-Data v2.0 page!


Reference:
[1] http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/03/29/big-data-big-deal
[2] https://www.amax.com/about/PressDetail.asp?news_id=20120912001
[3] http://hadoop.intel.com/pdfs/IntelDistributionProductBrief.pdf

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