HPC-as-a-Service Gaining Traction in Enterprise Arena

By Pankaj Mittal

September 29, 2010

Competitive business complexities and increasingly demanding users are driving organizations to design better performing products and solutions. Commercial applications often have adequate compute power, but require access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities that can increase efficiency, improve response times, enhance decision-making and help manage increasing data complexities.

Companies know that they need an HPC solution if they have data analysis if there are certain criteria, including needs exceeding hundreds of GB/TB/PBs; possession of “secret sauce-processes” that need to run faster; repetitive/sequential execution bottlenecks; applications that underutilize computing power; complex computing requirements; batch driven analysis of large data; are facing the near failure of the RDBMS (or expectation of failure in the future); and face the challenge of huge  unstructured data analysis.

A number of organizations are deploying High Performance Computing (HPC) solutions to deal with data complexities and the challenges of today’s environments.

HPC On-Demand Moving Enterprises Forward

High Performance Computing as a trend has gained momentum over the past two years, owing to different factors. Key among such trends is the fact that costly supercomputers are no longer required to undertake high-end data analytics and voluminous number crunching tasks. These can now be performed by clusters of competitively priced servers, comprised of what is basically commodity hardware, all of which is networked to provide the same computing power as that of the extremely advanced supercomputers.

The second development is the dawning of the cloud era, which is eliminating the need for organizations and individuals to invest in expensive IT infrastructure to access and run applications.
 
High Performance Computing, based on these two key trends, is now within the reach of companies and therefore gradually pervading the enterprise space. HPC, in fact, is being coupled with the cloud to provide unmatched benefits to organizations.

In order to understand the nexus between HPC and the Cloud, and how HPC can be delivered “as-a-service,” it is pertinent to understand the finer points of both technology trends. HPC, as we have all come to know, is large scale computation and data processing. It is about large data and provides the benefits of scale, and incremental growth to organizations. It enables them to cut costs and flexibly leverage technology as their requirements increase or decrease.

The fact is that data accumulation rates are growing astronomically and managing data in traditional ways is getting difficult in the same proportion. HPC is emerging as a champion for large-scale data management needs.  It is required by businesses that rely on high powered analytics to provide data driven insights, companies that need more than simple reports and dashboards.

And now the cloud. Cloud computing is being described as a next generation paradigm that is transforming IT usage. With the cloud, and availability of cloud service providers, organizations no longer have to invest in additional technology infrastructure. They can leverage the infrastructure provided by the cloud service provider, or move their own applications to this infrastructure. Customers derive enormous economies of use by leveraging the pay-by-use model, instead of upgrading their infrastructure, to provision for peaks in data volumes.

Typically, when there are situations where there is need for huge IT infrastructure to deal with voluminous data, say “on-and-off workloads” including holiday rush during the web sites of retail companies, etc., Cloud infrastructure is very useful. These instances may happen once or twice in a year and the Cloud is the perfect alternative to heavy IT investments that will remain underutilized all year around. The Cloud can handle the peak load at the specific time required. It can scale on demand when needed and the customer only needs to pay for the time used.

HPC and the Cloud: a Win-Win Combination

Combined together, HPC and the cloud offer several advantages to customers. While HPC, with its ability to handle huge volumes of data can solve large data problems more efficiently and speedily, the cloud can scale on-demand and enable users to pay by the drink.

HPC works by doing things in parallel, or via distributing computing. The speed of the solution depends on the availability of computing resources. The cloud offers HPC the kind of computing resources and infrastructure it requires.  When HPC requires more computing resources, the cloud, with its on-demand scaling, meets this need.

By leveraging the cloud, organizations can run their compute-intensive applications, that would typically require extensive on-premise technology, on the cloud, in an extremely cost-effective fashion. It is ideal for HPC applications to run on cloud infrastructure, which is constituted by massive data centers with high-end servers, storage, data recovery facilities, 24×7 availability, zero downtime and disaster management features. HPC-as-a-service, represents an unmatched combination, specially for companies with huge data computing and scalability needs.

More specifically speaking, HPC and cloud customers can handle large data on an “on-demand” basis and undertake deep analytics. However, most importantly, owing to the analytics, assessments and reporting available with HPC, companies can mine information on their customers, know them better and become more responsive to their needs. Using geo-location based customer targeting and intelligent recommendation engines, the relevant products can be aimed at the relevant customers.

Despite the fact that HPC-as-a-service is a growing reality, there are still certain issues that need to be ironed out, before the partnership between HPC and the cloud becomes perfect. Since both the technologies are in a nascent stage, organizations have to focus on overcoming challenges related to installation (which is not easy), networking set up, control and monitoring, which require further refinement. It has to be recognized that HPC requires large IT infrastructure that can scale, which is a costly proposition. In order to work with HPC, companies require specialized manpower  and developers, which is yet another expense.

While there are myriad advantages to marrying HPC and the cloud, there is also a fine print that needs to  be looked into. For instance, it is important for companies to conduct a use case for establishing the feasibility of offering HPC-as-a-service for their needs.  Proof-of-concepts are not always enough or accurate.  At the same time, organizations must evaluate the impact of the solution on their total cost of ownership. It is also important to examine the total costs involved in uploading the data on the cloud, which is still very high.

Companies must understand that HPC in the cloud is not a silver bullet that they can bite to speed up processing. Finally, size does matter, and if the data input is too large, there will be a significant cost involved in actually loading the data.

A number of companies have been building expertise in HPC as well as cloud services, creating thought leadership within these domains through pools of subject matter experts in both these emerging technologies. Impetus Technologies, for instance, has built expertise in areas such as Very Large Data Processing, Multi-core, Parallel, Distributed Computing, Hadoop, Programmable hardware, and the HPC 360 degree solution.

Clearly, the time is ripe for the proliferation of HPC-as-a-service. The coming together of two extremely revolutionary technologies—HPC and the cloud—will completely transform the manner in which IT power is delivered to organizations. This change is already happening, and is expected to accelerate in the future.

About the Author

 

Pankaj Mittal is responsible for all new product and IP initiatives at Impetus, taking them from ideation to market commercialization. He supports business growth by managing client expectations from the technology and delivery perspective.

An Impetus veteran and a member of the core management team, Pankaj has been instrumental in enabling the company to grow to over 1000 employees, managing multiple projects, and providing direction to R&D efforts, in order to build innovative software tools and components. He has played a key role in developing the organization’s intellectual property strategy and applying it to create asymmetric differentiators that add significant value to Impetus’ products and client deliverables.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

NREL ‘Eagle’ Supercomputer to Advance Energy Tech R&D

August 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has contracted with HPE for a new 8-petaflops (peak) supercomputer that will be used to advance early-stage R&D on energy technologies s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Training Time Slashed for Deep Learning

August 14, 2018

Fast.ai, an organization offering free courses on deep learning, claimed a new speed record for training a popular image database using Nvidia GPUs running on public cloud infrastructure. A pair of researchers trained Read more…

By George Leopold

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learning. The CERN team demonstrated that AI-based models have the Read more…

By Rob Farber

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Introducing the First Integrated System Management Software for HPC Clusters from HPE

How do you manage your complex, growing cluster environments? Answer that big challenge with the new HPC cluster management solution: HPE Performance Cluster Manager. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Super Problem Solving

You might think that tackling the world’s toughest problems is a job only for superheroes, but at special places such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supercomputers are the real heroes. Read more…

Rigetti Eyes Scaling with 128-Qubit Architecture

August 10, 2018

Rigetti Computing plans to build a 128-qubit quantum computer based on an equivalent quantum processor that leverages emerging hybrid computing algorithms used to test programs and potential applications. Founded in 2 Read more…

By George Leopold

NREL ‘Eagle’ Supercomputer to Advance Energy Tech R&D

August 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has contracted with HPE for a new 8-petaflops (peak) supercomputer that will be Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SLATE Update: Making Math Libraries Exascale-ready

August 9, 2018

Practically-speaking, achieving exascale computing requires enabling HPC software to effectively use accelerators – mostly GPUs at present – and that remain Read more…

By John Russell

Summertime in Washington: Some Unexpected Advanced Computing News

August 8, 2018

Summertime in Washington DC is known for its heat and humidity. That is why most people get away to either the mountains or the seashore and things slow down. H Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

NSF Invests $15 Million in Quantum STAQ

August 7, 2018

Quantum computing development is in full ascent as global backers aim to transcend the limitations of classical computing by leveraging the magical-seeming prop Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

By the Numbers: Cray Would Like Exascale to Be the Icing on the Cake

August 1, 2018

On its earnings call held for investors yesterday, Cray gave an accounting for its latest quarterly financials, offered future guidance and provided an update o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google is First Partner in NIH’s STRIDES Effort to Speed Discovery in the Cloud

July 31, 2018

The National Institutes of Health, with the help of Google, last week launched STRIDES - Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimen Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This