I had the pleasure of attending CeBIT in Hannover Germany last week, which, year on year, becomes increasingly business-to-business focused. With more than 200,000 visitors from around the world, this is a monster of a show.
Each year, CeBIT nominates a "partner country" to play a central role in the event. This year, Japan was chosen, and the Japanese Prime Minister was invited to join the German Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, to open the show. Japan dominated the 2017 CeBIT landscape, showcasing the country’s success in “digitizing the world”.
120 companies from Japan exhibited at CeBIT, including Toyota and its vision for the next generation of mobility. Robots, bots, drones and artificial intelligence (AI) were the hot new tech advancements; and visitors flocked to them. Intel was at the forefront, with its Drone Park outside Hall 2, while IBM showcased Olli a self-driving bus, and robots that help with everyday life.
From a Bright perspective, I visited CeBIT to take the opportunity to catch up with our partner community. In previous years, traditional HPC would not have been the main topic on the agenda. This year was different. 2017 CeBIT exhibitors were taking HPC to the next level. Rittal, for example, demonstrated data centers in containers, having already implemented the world’s largest data center in Norway. It’s big news; companies big (e.g. IT giant IBM) and small (e.g. Start-up Innovo cloud) are going to sell utility computing for HPC workloads for this data center.
Bright partner, Huawei, nearly doubled its presence in Hall 2, and is a likely contender for the biggest booth at CeBIT. Huawei presented fresh and intuitive customer solutions which were well received by a ceaseless flow of booth traffic.
The Huawei HPC Roundtable
This year, Huawei invited Bright to participate in an HPC Roundtable discussion. The panel, moderated by Huawei’s CTO of IT Data Center Solutions Sales, included other Huawei resellers and partners, such as Cluster Vision, GoVirtual, Intel, Max-Planck Institute, Megware, transtec, and some senior representatives from Huawei itself.
The fact that a major vendor chose to host an HPC discussion forum during CeBIT was unprecedented, and Bright was delighted to participate. It was notable that Huawei led with a community discussion on how to evolve and embrace HPC in the cloud, rather than push product presentations.
The roundtable started with an introduction from Addison Snell of Intersect 360, who presented his latest research and statistics on the HPC market. He explained that HPC is growing and always will. He demonstrated that even though HPC in the cloud is still a small segment of the market (far below 10%), it is the fasted growing segment in the HPC space.
Stephan Gillich, Director of HPC and Workstations EMEA at Intel, followed. He gave his perspective of HPC cloud adoption. Stephan's presentation was totally in line with Bright’s perception of the market; how we develop our products to make it easy for our customers to deploy, manage, and monitor IT infrastructure and workloads from a single interface, and how we enable workloads to be moved into the (public) cloud with seamless integration.
Much of the roundtable discussion centered on how to encourage SME customers (e.g. in the manufacturing space) to harness HPC and HPC in the cloud. The general consensus is that SMEs (despite several regional offerings and EU programs such as "Fortissimo") a) remain to be convinced of the value that HPC offers, and b) need advice on how to implement and use HPC in their environment.
The roundtable was interactive and insightful. It ended with a networking lunch and a tour of the HPC center at the Max-Planck Inititut for "Gravitationstheorie" in Hannover.
Overall my visit to CeBIT was well worthwhile, because of the excellent Huawei roundtable and the fruitful discussions with customers and partners. Not forgetting the chance to get a taste of the things to come in the exciting industry we work in.