February 09, 2012
HPC titan Cray has thrown its hat into the big data arena, as it announced a new division yesterday called YarcData. In what seems to be an Oprah-esque move, the new division is actually the company’s name spelled backwards. The Cray name has been synonymous with the supercomputing world for nearly 40 years and it appears that the new big data division is set to prove its merit without having to use the “Cray” name.
Nicole Hemsoth from Datanami.com was able to catch up with Cray CEO, Peter Ungaro and the head of the YarcData division, Arvind Parthasarathi yesterday after the news was announced “Parthasarathi made it clear that it is a big change for him coming into a hardware-focused company but Ungaro quickly picked up on this point, noting that there are some significant developments coming in software—some that go far beyond mere Hadoop or commodity cluster solutions that come pre-packaged with a one-size-fits-all big data stack.” With the addition of Parthasarathi, Cray is definitely ramping up its focus on software, but specifically where they plan to focus their energies in big data development is still unknown.
The announcement yesterday is not completely a surprise, as Cray had been making headway into big data developments before creating this new division. The Cray XMT, for example, is a system designed for behavioral prediction, pattern matching and anomaly identification, using cutting-edge supercomputing technology.
Another hint was the creation of Supercomputer Institute Learning and Knowledge Systems (SILKS), the result of a partnership between Cray and Sandia last May. Sandia is a subsidiary of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, whose focus is in R&D relating to national security, energy and environmental technologies. In the press release, Shoaib Mufti, director of knowledge management for Cray’s custom engineering group said of the partnership “Sandia is a leading national lab with strong expertise in area of the data analysis”
Big data analytics are definitely growing in popularity as startups are getting a boost from investors, and it would make sense for Cray to move in this direction given their recent developments in products and partnerships. It will be interesting to see what specific applications and verticals the new division is able to draw in. Over time, we will see if YarcData has the pull to gain a foothold in the big data industry and succeed in being self-sufficient without leaning on the Cray name.
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