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!

Pfizer HPC Engineer Aims to Automate Software Stack Testing

January 17, 2019

Seeking to reign in the tediousness of manual software testing, Pfizer HPC Engineer Shahzeb Siddiqui is developing an open source software tool called buildtest, aimed at automating software stack testing by providing the community with a central repository of tests for common HPC apps and the ability to automate execution of testing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Senegal Prepares to Take Delivery of Atos Supercomputer

January 16, 2019

In just a few months time, Senegal will be operating the second largest HPC system in sub-Saharan Africa. The Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Mary Teuw Niane made the announcement on Monday (Jan. 14 Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Cloud Platform Extends GPU Instance Options

January 16, 2019

If it's Nvidia GPUs you're after to power your AI/HPC/visualization workload, Google Cloud has them, now claiming "broadest GPU availability." Each of the three big public cloud vendors has by turn touted the latest and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Systems With Intel Omni-Path: Architected for Value and Accessible High-Performance Computing

Today’s high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) users value high performing clusters. And the higher the performance that their system can deliver, the better. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Resource Management in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

New challenges demand fresh approaches

Fueled by GPUs, big data, and rapid advances in software, the AI revolution is upon us. Read more…

STAC Floats ML Benchmark for Financial Services Workloads

January 16, 2019

STAC (Securities Technology Analysis Center) recently released an ‘exploratory’ benchmark for machine learning which it hopes will evolve into a firm benchmark or suite of benchmarking tools to compare the performanc Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Platform Extends GPU Instance Options

January 16, 2019

If it's Nvidia GPUs you're after to power your AI/HPC/visualization workload, Google Cloud has them, now claiming "broadest GPU availability." Each of the three Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

STAC Floats ML Benchmark for Financial Services Workloads

January 16, 2019

STAC (Securities Technology Analysis Center) recently released an ‘exploratory’ benchmark for machine learning which it hopes will evolve into a firm benchm Read more…

By John Russell

A Big Data Journey While Seeking to Catalog our Universe

January 16, 2019

It turns out, astronomers have lots of photos of the sky but seek knowledge about what the photos mean. Sound familiar? Big data problems are often characterize Read more…

By James Reinders

Intel Bets Big on 2-Track Quantum Strategy

January 15, 2019

Quantum computing has lived so long in the future it’s taken on a futuristic life of its own, with a Gartner-style hype cycle that includes triggers of innovation, inflated expectations and – though a useful quantum system is still years away – anticipatory troughs of disillusionment. Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM’s New Global Weather Forecasting System Runs on GPUs

January 9, 2019

Anyone who has checked a forecast to decide whether or not to pack an umbrella knows that weather prediction can be a mercurial endeavor. It is a Herculean task: the constant modeling of incredibly complex systems to a high degree of accuracy at a local level within very short spans of time. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft to Buy Mellanox?

December 20, 2018

Networking equipment powerhouse Mellanox could be an acquisition target by Microsoft, according to a published report in an Israeli financial publication. Microsoft has reportedly gone so far as to engage Goldman Sachs to handle negotiations with Mellanox. Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

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