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Category: Networking

More, faster, better: The future according to Mobile World Congress 2019

More is more data, which the trillions of devices in the coming Internet of Things will be pumping through our air into our (computing) clouds in hitherto unseen quantities.

Faster is the speed at which tomorrow’s 5G networks will carry this data—and the responses and actions from our automated assistants (and possibly overlords).

Better is the quality of the data analysis and recommendations, thanks primarily to the vast army of AI-powered analytics engines that will be poring over everything digital the planet has to say.

Swimming through this perpetual data tsunami will be we humans and our many devices, our laptops and tablets and smartphones and smart watches and, ultimately, implants. If we are to believe the promise of this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—and of course I do want to believe it, who wouldn’t?—the result of all of this will be a better world for all humanity, no person left behind. As I walked the show floor, I could not help but feel and want to embrace its optimism.

The catch, of course, is that we have a tremendous amount of work to do between where we are today and this fabulous future.

We must, for example, make sure that every computing node that will contribute to these powerful AI programs is up to the task. From the smartphone to the datacenter, AI will end up being a very distributed and very demanding workload. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been developing AIXPRT. Without tools that let us accurately compare different devices, the industry won’t be able to keep delivering the levels of performance improvements that we need to realize these dreams.

We must also think a lot about how to accurately measure all other aspects of our devices’ performance, because the demands this future will place on them are going to be significant. Fortunately, the always evolving XPRT family of tools is up to the task.

The coming 5G revolution, like all tech leaps forward before it, will not come evenly. Different 5G devices will end up behaving differently, some better and some worse. That fact, plus our constant and growing reliance on bandwidth, suggests that maybe the XPRT community should turn its attention to the task of measuring bandwidth. What do you think?

One thing is certain: we at the Benchmark XPRT Development Community have a role to play in building the tools necessary to test the tech the world will need to deliver on the promise of this exciting trade show. We look forward to that work.

XPRTs in the datacenter

The XPRTs have been very successful on desktops, notebooks, tablets, and phones. People have run WebXPRT over 295,000 times. It and other benchmarks such as MobileXPRT, HDXPRT, and CrXPRT are important tools globally for evaluating device performance on various consumer and business client platforms.

We’ve begun branching out with tests for edge devices with AIXPRT, our new artificial intelligence benchmark. While typical consumers won’t be able to run AIXPRT on their devices initially, we feel that it is important for the XPRTs to play an active role in a critical emerging market. (We’ll have some updates on the AIXPRT front in the next few weeks.)

Recently, both community members and others have asked about the possibility of the XPRTs moving into the datacenter. Folks face challenges in evaluating the performance and suitability to task of such datacenter mainstays as servers, storage, networking infrastructure, clusters, and converged solutions. These challenges include the lack of easy-to-run benchmarks, the complexity and cost of the equipment (multi-tier servers, large amounts of storage, and fast networks) necessary to run tests, and confusion about best testing practices.

PT has a lot of expertise in measuring datacenter performance, as you can tell from the hundreds of datacenter-focused test reports on our website. We see great potential in our working with the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community to help in this area. It is very possible that, as with AIXPRT, our approach to datacenter benchmarks would differ from the approach we’ve taken with previous benchmarks. While we have ideas for useful benchmarks we might develop down the road, more immediate steps could be drafting white papers, developing testing guidelines, or working with vendors to set up a lab.

Right now, we’re trying to gauge the level of interest in having such tools and in helping us carry out these initiatives. What are the biggest challenges you face in datacenter-focused performance and suitability to task evaluations? Would you be willing to work with us in this area? We’d love to hear from you and will be reaching out to members of the community over the coming weeks.

As always, thanks for your help!

Bill

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