June 29, 2012

The Uber-Cloud Experiment Is Seeking Participants

Nicole Hemsoth

Delivering high performance computing as a service – or even in the cloud – comes with a set of challenges, both technical and social. There are various aspects of the service model, including the people that need to be involved in the process, and the challenges faced when executing workloads on remote HPC resources. Taking into account these factors, HPC veteran Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier, vice president of operations at CashEdge, have developed an HPC-as-a-Service Experiment that brings together industry end users, resource providers, software providers, and HPC experts.

The technology components of HPC-as-a-Service that enable multi-tenant, remote access to centralized resources, and metered use are not unfamiliar to this community. However, as service-based delivery models take off, with the promise of easy access to pay-per-use computing resources, our users have been mostly on the fence, observing and discussing the potential hurdles to its adoption in HPC.

Even with the challenges of data privacy, incompatible software licensing models, and a dozen other potential roadblocks, it’s time we dip our toes in the water and figure out how to achieve the benefits of service-based delivery. How far are we from an ideal HPC-as-a-Service model? At this point, nobody knows.

What is fairly certain is that we now have the technology ingredients to make it happen. To glue it together into a coherent end-to-end process, the authors have come up with the “Uber-Cloud Experiment.” We believe the technology is not the challenge anymore; rather it’s the people who make service-based HPC come together. The major stakeholders: the industry end users, the resource providers, the application software providers, and the HPC experts.

The experiment is scheduled to begin later in July and will run for three months. At that point, the results will be made publicly available to the HPC community. Anyone interested in participating can register at www.hpcexperiment.com. More information about the experiment is available at http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-06-28/the_uber-cloud_experiment.html.