VMware Employee
VMware Employee

SC '10 Wrap-up

It is Thursday evening here in New Orleans and SC '10 is mostly done, though there is some interesting content scheduled for tomorrow as well. The exhibits have been take down and shipped (see a short time-lapse video I shot here) and relative calm has descended. Except over on Bourbon Street, of course.

This is my overview blog post. I will post a series of more detailed follow-on entries over the next few days. Julia Austin has posted her first-time impressions of the conference  here.

I've attended most of the SC conferences since 1988, but this one was different for me because I was primarily responsible for organizing a booth on the show floor. A group of organizations, led by VMware, had submitted a proposal to the SC organizing committee proposing that virtualization be considered as a potential disruptive technology for HPC. Our proposal was selected and we were awarded booth space in the Disruptive Technology area of the exhibit along with eleven other technologies.

Our "Virtualization for HPC" booth included posters from each of the participating organizations: VMware, Ohio State University, UnivaUD and Deopli, as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This combination of commercial, academic, and government organizations enabled us to present a multi-faceted view of work being done to enable virtualization for HPC. We had many requests for copies of the posters from attendees so I will soon upload them and post another blog entry with links to the PDF files.

In addition to our booth, we ran a panel session  with about 70 attendees and gave two talks, all covering aspects of virtualization for HPC. The slides from the panel session are here (SC '10 Disruptive Technology Panel Session: Virtualization for HPC). I shot a handheld video of DK Panda's talk about OSU virtualization research and will post that as a separate blog entry once I have edited the video.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of traffic we saw at the booth. I personally staffed it for a total of about seven hours over the course of the show and had very few occasions when I was not speaking with someone. Other booth staffers reported similar traffic. I spoke with students, with researchers, admins, and managers and directors from all over the world and was struck by two common themes in those conversations. First, most were interested in the prospect of using virtualization for HPC and had some idea how they might want to use it, and, second, attendees seemed genuinely excited to see VMware at SC. To quote one adminstrator who did a double take when he saw the VMware logo whlile passing the booth, "Coool!!! VMware!" Kinda made my day with that one.

We also gathered about 20 completed virtualization surveys as part of a contest to win VMware desktop virtualization licenses. The survey actually turned out to be fairly long for attendees, so I was quite happy with the yield and expect we have gathered some useful data. I plan also to post the same survey in an online form so readers here can respond. Perhaps we will give away additional licenses.


In addition to spending time working the booth, I met with representatives from many other organizations, which is a very common way to spend time at SC as it is a prime place to touch base with other HPC people. BlueArc, one of our partners, used some content I gave them and created a combined VMware / BlueArc slide loop on the importance of high performance NAS for virtualized HPC, which they ran in their booth. (Photos: J. Austin)

According to my calendar I met with about a dozen companies and other organizations in three days. While all of these companies are interesed in the possibilities enabled by virtualization for HPC and in working with VMware to that end, many of them also see that a relationship with VMware could give them access to the larger enterprise markets in which VMware plays a leadership role. This is actually quite plausible, since we see a convergence of HPC and enterprise requirements occurring over time and expect to see more vendors serving both HPC and Enterprise requirements.

I also toured the poster session and saw several posters related to virtualization and/or cloud computing and will separately post the photos I took of the most interesting. I did not, however, have time to attend any technical sessions (other than those I spoke at), though I do now have the electronic proceedings and will be able to read the papers related to the sessions I had optimistically put into my calendar before arriving in New Orleans and experiencing the annual craziness of SC.

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