Reducing downtime with OpenCL… Ever thought of that?

downtimeSomething that creates extra value for Open CL is the flexibility with which it runs on an important variety of hardware. A famous strategy is running the code on CPUs to find data-races and debug the code more easily. Another is to develop on GPUs and port to FPGAs to reduce the development-cycles.

But there’s one, quite important, often forgotten: replacement of faulty hardware. You can blame the supplier, or even Murphy if you want, but what is almost certain is that there’s a high chance of facing downtime precisely when the hardware cannot be replaced right-away.

Fail to plan is planning to fail

To limit downtime, there are a few options:

  • Have a good SLA in place for 24/7 hardware-replacement.
  • Have spare-hardware in stock.
  • Have over-capacity on your compute-servers.

But the problem is that all three are expensive in some form if you’re not flexible enough. If you use professional accelerators like Intel XeonPhi, NVidia Tesla or AMD FirePro, you risk having unexpected stock shortage at your supplier.

With OpenCL the hardware can be replaced by any accelerator, whereas with vendor-specific solutions this is not possible.

Flexibility by OpenCL

I’d like to share with you one example how to introduce flexibility in your hardware-management, but there are various others which are more tailored to your requirements.

To detect faulty hardware, you can think of a server with three GPUs and let selected jobs be run by all three – any hardware-problem will be detected and pin-pointed. Administrating which hardware has done which job completes the mechanism. Exactly this can be used to replace faulty hardware with any accelerator: let the replacement-accelerator run the same jobs as the other two as an acceptance-test.

If you need your software to be optimised for several accelerators, you’re in the right place. We can help you with both machine and hand optimizations. That’s a plan that cannot fail!


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