Tuesday, November 15, 2011

disruptive things spotted so far at #SC11

Given my previous petrified tweet:


It was clear I was going to have to dig a little deeper into my courage basket and take to the super computing floor. It is amazing what you can find out there! For a long time now I've been talking about exploiting the PCI bus for fun and profit, certainly with disruptive ideas such as using PCI switches. But I spotted this little gadget on the floor today:

So what is it? Simple idea uses a bridge between PCIe and S-RIO Pretty cool, low power, and sure is plenty fast enough, and there is support in the linux kernel:


So that's awesome! Next up, I spotted this gem, it is a hardware in-silico neural network system, that uses 2 watts of power and is quite simply one of the pieces of technology I could have really done with while working on my DPhil in protein structure prediction. This thing rocks!


Next up this badboy from supermicro... now this is a desktop! 4 sockets, and 1/2 terabyte of memory under your desk... no wonder orion supercomputing went pop!

Finally, my good chum Carolina @ Intel invited me to a press release today to see their “Knights Corner” MIC product demonstrated for the first time breaking barrier of 1 TFLOPS!

I was one of the lucky folks who were ushered off to a secret location to actually see it in reality! Woot! I can tell you for a fact, it's real, I met the lead architect (lovely chap), and he showed me the double precision example running on a real device! This thing, I'll say it is going to change computing yet again! Awesome!

Oh and remember remember ASCI RED?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCI_Red well it was 78 racks @ 850kW and was the first machine in 1997 to bust the 1TF sustained performance barrier. Here's a picture from my cell phone of Raj Hazra of Intel showing how big 1TF needs to be today... you can see that blurry thing in his hand - yeah it's pretty small :-)

And that was my day one at supercomputing... can't wait for tomorrow!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

64 bit windows sound in KVM for playon.tv and Amazon VOD

64 bit windows systems are not happy with these legacy drivers:
jcuff@srv:/var/lib/libvirt/network$ qemu -soundhw ?
Valid sound card names (comma separated):
pcspk       PC speaker
sb16        Creative Sound Blaster 16
ac97        Intel 82801AA AC97 Audio
es1370      ENSONIQ AudioPCI ES1370

See: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/kvm/+bug/419182

However, hda is a new method only available in qemu 0.14 and above. As you can see the virtmanager console does not yet have this one listed, but it is easy enough to go to /etc/libvirt/qemu and change the xml file to use the latest sound driver by simply changing one line:

srv:/etc/libvirt/qemu# grep sound Win2k8.xml
sound model='hda'

which gives you the -device intel-hda,id=sound0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x4 -device hda-duplex,id=sound0-codec0,bus=sound0.0,cad=0 line in the ps output for kvm. Then restarting your windows kvm you get the lovely intel-hda driver and life is happy again!

We needed a functioning high performance virtual machine with more than 2 sockets which drove our windows 2008 selection. We also needed a nice chunk of memory to work on our little basement server without creating a ton of vm sprawl - our totally self inflicted predicament may not reflect your own though ;-)). But maybe this helps folks out there.

So long story short, finally we have our linux box able to route playon tv over to an xbox - simple stuff indeed, but sure took some time trying to hunt all this down! Side benefit of using playon for this is that it also allows streaming of Amazon VOD from a prime account - lots of good stuff there for "free" if you are already a prime customer!

[any opinions here are all mine, and have absolutely nothing to do with my employer]
(c) 2011 James Cuff