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What is boundless computing? Huawei’s new HPC concept explained

(Image credit: Image Credit: J.Lekavicius / Shutterstock)

In a world where more and more things are becoming smarter and more connected, the need for solid, reliable infrastructure to support this has become paramount. The HPC (high-powered computing) industry will play a vital role in providing this support, supplying the hardware needed to ensure that all the world’s vital systems remain online, all the time.

Huawei has been investing heavily in the HPC market in recent months, with the company’s standalone cloud computing division growing rapidly since its launch in 2015. However the company is now looking forward to the next step beyond, and has coined a new term to cover this - what it calls ‘boundless computing’.

At the recent Huawei Connect 2017 event in Shanghai, the company outlined its view on what boundless computing is, and the benefits it can provide. 

“We want to re-imagine computing for a better connected world”, Huawei’s Qui Long told a media briefing at the event attended by ITProPortal.

At it’s simplest level, boundless computing aims to bring computing hardware closer to data sources, cutting down on the need for complex layers of overlying software, allowing users to “unleash the full potential of computing.”

The company’s new KunLink servers will enable cloud usage with improved accessibility and convenience for data centres, supporting the next generation of ‘Everything on Demand’ (XOD) hardware which should provide major upgrades in terms of computing power.

Named after a mountain in Chinese mythology, KunLun will be able to support a the next level of software application development solutions, with Huawei urging customers to “think beyond the CPU boundary.”

Over the next five years, Huawei is aiming to provide between a 5x and 10x improvement in terms of server power, and 400x computing boost, and boundless computing is its way of presenting the KunLun line as more than just a box of hardware.

“Within the next five years, we will go beyond the boundary of CPU - it's not the only barrier to computing," Long stated, noting that Huawei is already planning for 100 socket CPU chips within this timeframe.

With cloud forming one of Huawei’s main pillars as it looks to push digital transformation agendas, the need for systems like boundless computing is clear, and the company is certainly well-placed to stake a major claim across the world.

Huawei Connect 2017 also saw the company release its new Atlas cloud hardware platform, which aims to harness the power of artificial intelligence to power HPC scenarios across a number of industries and markets.

Atlas utilises a number of powerful technology platforms, including heterogeneous resource pooling and intelligent orchestration, which allow the hardware to behave in a more flexible manner and adapt to ever-changing situations.

Huawei demonstrated how smart cities and public sector bodies could be an ideal use case for using Atlas, as more and more of the world around us becomes smarter and more connected - and starts generating huge amounts of data for processing.

The company says that Atlas is able to provide higher than 50 per cent resource utilisation efficiency, and can boost performance by over 10x compared to traditional x86 architecture. The platform can also allow customers to cut down on the number of hardware device types, as its servers can be deployed within seconds, significantly shortening the service rollout cycle.

"As the AI era is approaching, traditional hardware cannot meet the requirements on development of AI and cloud technologies." Long noted in his keynote speech at the event.

"Positioned as a new-generation intelligent cloud hardware platform, Huawei's Atlas pioneers heterogeneous resource pooling and intelligent orchestration technologies to bring resource utilisation and performance to new high levels. Huawei has been inspired by the idea of making computing simple through continuous innovation, and keeps customers' requirements in mind to build servers that are stable, reliable, and high-performing, to help customers better cope with the challenges for successful transformation in the AI and cloud era."

The potential of a re-imagined view of computing hardware, offering revolutionary steps forward in terms of power, efficiency and performance, may seem ambitious, but with the company’s huge wealth and influence behind it, who’s to bet against Huawei achieving just that?

Michael Moore
Michael Moore is News and Features Editor working across both ITProPortal and TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, including spells at one of the UK's leading national newspapers. He is interested in hearing about all the latest news and developments across the Business IT world, and how companies are using new technology to help push forward their work and make their customer's lives easier.