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Processor design flaw

There has been a great deal of news over the last week generated by the publication of the design flaw in processors, predominantly Intel processors and to a lesser extent AMD and POWER processors, which could lead to performance issues.

AMD has created a web page that provides information on how its processors are not affected.

How does this affect HPC and OCF’s customers?

We understand that there may be some performance and or security concerns, so we are in the process of investigating and completing our own benchmarking so that we can fully understand any impact and support customers as quickly as possible if needed. We take this seriously and will provide the results as soon as possible.

In the wider industry, the consensus is that the design flaw will be detrimental to performance. We expect our results to provide clarity for our customers.

How much performance will suffer?

We will only know for certain once our tests are completed but The Register suggests between 5% and 30%. This is quite a large range, and this clearly depends on multiple factors but mainly how often kernel interaction is required.

Something else to bear in mind is the performance benchmarks and what our partners and customers require. Until we know for certain how the design flaw (and its associated fix) will affect benchmarking for purchasing and comparison purposes, companies in the business of HPC should probably be wary of any performance commitments.

As mentioned, we are going to be running some tests of our own and will keep you informed of our results. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us directly to discuss further.


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