Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:52

Cray puts analytics through the Hadoop

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There was a time where the name Cray was synonymous not only with blazingly fast supercomputers, but good interior design as well. But supercomputers have changed, the cloud has come, and things move on.

Cray is back — not that it ever left  with its Cray Urika-GX System billed as the first agile analytics platform and while you can’t sit on it as in days gone by, it is exceedingly fast at big data analysis. It fuses supercomputing technologies with an open, enterprise-ready software framework for big data analytics. It's designed to run multiple analytics workloads concurrently on a single platform, leveraging the speed of a Cray supercomputer.

Designed to stop things like cluster sprawl, a torrent of new applications, and increasing pressure to deliver faster insights it combines the unique scale and throughput capabilities of Cray supercomputers with the convenience of an appliance, the flexibility of industry-standard hardware, and an open software framework that enables customers to innovate as they run existing and emerging analytics workloads. And it looks good too!

It is pre-tested and pre-integrated with the Hortonworks Data Platform providing Hadoop and Apache Spark, as well as the Cray Graph Engine, designed for solving the largest and most complex graph analytics problems. The system includes enterprise tools, such as OpenStack for management and Apache Mesos for dynamic configuration – all designed to protect customers’ investments in the rapidly-changing big data software landscape.

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Peter Ungaro, president and chief executive of Cray, said, “The Urika-GX is a dynamic analytics solution that brings out the best of Cray’s decades of expertise in providing our customers with world-class systems for data-intensive computing. Customers have asked us to blend the unique features of our product lines into a single platform for data analytics. We took the Aries system interconnect from our supercomputers, the industry-standard architecture of our clusters, the scalable graph engine from the Urika-GD appliance, and the pre-integrated, open infrastructure of our Urika-XA system and combined them into one agile analytics platform. The Urika-GX gives our customers the tool they need to overcome their most advanced analytics challenges today, and the platform to bridge to tomorrow.”

Cray Urika-GX systems are being used by multiple Cray customers across the life sciences, healthcare, and cybersecurity industries. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a non-profit research institute aimed at advancing the understanding and treatment of disease, is using the Cray Urika-GX system for analysing high-throughput genome sequencing data.

Adam Kiezun, GATK4 project lead at the Broad Institute, said, “With the Cray Urika-GX, we had quality score recalibration results from our Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK4) Apache Spark pipeline in nine minutes instead of 40 minutes. This highlights the potential to accelerate delivery of genomic insights to researchers who are making breakthroughs in the fight against disease.”

An exclusive feature of the Cray Urika-GX system is the Cray Graph Engine for fast, complex iterative discovery. Graph analytics pose some of the most difficult scaling and performance challenges for modern analytics systems. The Cray Graph Engine on the Urika-GX system, originally developed for the Cray Urika-GD Graph Discovery appliance, is typically 10 to 100 times faster than current graph solutions for complex analytics operations. The Cray Graph Engine can run at any scale from a single processor to thousands of processors without compromising performance. With the Cray Graph Engine, customers can tackle multi-terabyte datasets comprised of billions of objects. The Cray Graph Engine can run in conjunction with open analytics tools such as Hadoop and Spark, enabling customers to build complete end-to-end analytics workflows and avoid unnecessary data movement.

James Curtis, senior analyst, data platforms and analytics at 451 Research, said, “Analytics workflows are becoming increasingly sophisticated with businesses looking to integrate analytics such as streaming, graph, and interactive. An agile analytics platform that can eliminate many of the challenges data scientists face, as well as reduce the time it takes to get an integrated environment up and running has become a requirement for many enterprises.”

The Cray Urika-GX system features Intel Xeon Broadwell cores, 22 terabytes of memory, 35 terabytes of local SSD storage capacity, and the Aries supercomputing interconnect, which provides the unmatched network performance necessary to solve the most demanding big data problems. Three initial enterprise-accessible configurations featuring 16, 32, or 48 nodes delivered in an industry standard 42U 19-inch rack and larger configurations will be available in the second half of 2016.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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