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HP Hardware

Dell Exec Calls HP's New 'Machine' Architecture 'Laughable' 173

jfruh (300774) writes HP's revelation that it's working on a radical new computing architecture that it's dubbed "The Machine" was met with excitement among tech observers this week, but one of HP's biggest competitors remains extremely unimpressed. John Swanson, the head of Dell's software business, said that "The notion that you can reach some magical state by rearchitecting an OS is laughable on the face of it." And Jai Memnon, Dell's research head, said that phase-change memory is the memory type in the pipeline mostly like to change the computing scene soon, not the memristors that HP is working on.
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Dell Exec Calls HP's New 'Machine' Architecture 'Laughable'

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  • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @07:14AM (#47235603) Homepage Journal
    HP is their competitor. HP just announced that they're working on something that even if the entire thing doesn't come to fruition, likely some part will and it will change the computing landscape. Understand, this announcement is pointed directly at Dell's share holders.

    Best case scenario HP actually pulls it off and they've got some radically fast system running something that looks like Linux.
    Mid case scenario, they figure out how to make memsistors at scale and then sell licences for everybody to make blisteringly fast SSD's, etc. Then others come along and figure out how to put the pieces together. HP makes out like a bandit in royalties, etc.
    Worse case, nothing comes out of this. HP shrugs, files a whole pile of patent applications. Someone else takes bits and pieces of it (like IBM) and does cool things with it. In all three cases HP is going to be enhance their IP portfolio and possibly make their stock worth more.

    All of those scenarios are bad for Dell. Dell doesn't do fundamental science. They design motherboards that use components supplied by everybody else and crank out cheap computers. If scenario #1 comes true... HP is NOT going to sell any of this to Dell, cutting them out of the market. If scenario #2 comes true, HP is going to get these components at a price that Dell can't compete with. If the last scenario comes true, Dell still ends up being a VAR like everybody else and HP racks in royalties.

    The CEO of Dell is almost obligated to thrown cold water all over this, otherwise Dell shareholders are naturally going to ask if this announcement is going to make Dells stock worth less and/or worthless.
  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @07:25AM (#47235631)
    Or an idiot. Or a scared idiot.

    The notion that you can reach some magical state by rearchitecting an OS is laughable on the face of it

    Why, thank you, Captain Obvious! It's not about rearchitecting an OS, it's about matching SW to the HW. For ages, we've had the distinction between block-addressed devices with streamed access and byte-addressed devices (mostly DRAMs) for low-latency. Virtually all our software is impedance-matched to that idea! I believe the only thing remotely close to how a machine with huge persistent RAM should (would?) work are those nice Azul boxes, with zero-pause automated memory management even on 500GB+ heaps. Those machines still use RAM and have disk I/O for ordinary data manipulation, but I'm convinced that had the Azul people had non-volatile RAMs at that time, they would have gone for persistent objects. It's such an obvious idea! No more serializing and deserializing for disk I/O (except for backups, of course), performance on the order of millions of transactions per second. Obviously the price is that you absolutely have to rewrite the software bottom-up, otherwise all that extra performance potential gets lost.

  • uh no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday June 14, 2014 @07:44AM (#47235673) Homepage Journal

    "The notion that you can reach some magical state by rearchitecting an OS is laughable on the face of it," John Swainson, head of Dell's software business, told reporters in San Francisco Thursday when asked to comment on the work.

    Well, sure, you also have to rearchitect the hardware, which is what HP is talking about. John Swainson is an idiot. Sadly, the richest idiots with the best-connected families fail upwards rather than downwards. This is why we can't have nice things.

  • by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @08:58AM (#47235893)
    HP has a long history of OS, CPU, and other types of tech design, but they lost a lot of that when they spun off Agilent. Since then HP's budget for research, not to mention the researchers/departments themselves, have been slashed. They are not down to Dell levels of R&D yet, but that seems to be the trend.
  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @09:16AM (#47235929)
    once you get the NRE [non-recurring expense] out of the way

    The entire cost of electronics is the NRE: look at your $800 iPhone - raw materials inside:

    Three spoonfulls of oil to make the plastic bits.

    Two spoonfulls of sand to make the silicon bits (includes the glass screen and fibreglass PCBs).

    Not quite enough copper to make 2 inches of water pipe,

    Not quite enough steel to make a table knife or fork.

    Not much at all of quite a few other things

    Way more than 2,000,000 man-hours of highly paid engineers' design time (if you include time to design every single component, including bought-in CPU, graphics, etc- remember to descend recurssively into the design of every single bit of logic, power disttribution, analog bits). Of course most has been amortized over the past 50 years, Apple only pays for the top layer.

    If you start again from scratch, you might not need to go back to George Boole, or Aristotle, but you risk having to redevelop one hell of a lot.

    Perhaps you shold meet a few engineers and talk to them.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @09:25AM (#47235949) Homepage

    "HP has a long history of OS and CPU design, including their own computers with a proprietary architecture."

    and nobody works there anymore that does that, They fired all the high paid specialists years ago.

    The HP of today is not even worthy to stand in the shadow of the HP of yesterday.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"