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November 4, 2011

Has Simplicity in HPC Cloud Been Achieved?

Nicole Hemsoth

For many organizations the complexity associated with creating and managing servers in the cloud is a significant barrier to adoption – creating HPC clusters only makes things more complex. RightScale solves the complexity of managing infrastructure in the cloud and is now doing the same for HPC. Univa’s Rob Secontine speaks with Josh Fraser of RightScale.

Univa: Rob Secontine, VP Sales & Marketing, Univa Corporation

RightScale: Josh Fraser, VP Business Development, RightScale, inc.

Q: Could you quickly introduce RightScale to our audience?

A: RightScale is the world’s leading multi-cloud management platform. We have launched and managed over 3.3 million servers to date, and are behind the largest hybrid cloud deployments in the world. The RightScale cloud management platform enables organizations to easily deploy and manage mission critical applications across multiple clouds with complete control and portability.

Q: A lot of people may not know that RightScale offers a solution for HPC. Can you describe what RightScale does provide?

A: RightScale and Univa have partnered together to provide a simple, elegant way of launching Grid Engine in the Cloud. Through our partnership and integration, users can launch a fully configured Grid Engine cluster in a matter of minutes. By stepping through an intuitive, wizard-like experience, customers can specify the parameters of their HPC clusters (such as hardware configurations and security settings), click ‘launch’, and RightScale orchestrates the creation of the servers within Amazon Web Services. Once the servers come online, RightScale automatically provisions the Univa Grid Engine software on these servers, and within minutes, users can have a fully functioning cluster in the cloud. These clusters consist of a Grid Engine ‘queue master’ node and a user-specified number of Grid Engine ‘execution hosts’, and customers can begin submitting workloads immediately.

Q: What is One-Click HPC and why is it valuable to end users?

A: The RightScale cloud management platform enables organizations to easily deploy and manage cloud servers. The integration with Univa extends the RightScale platform by automating Grid Engine cluster configuration with the simplicity of a ServerTemplate™, RightScale’s dynamic and configurable alternative to a standard machine image. With the “push of a button” a fully functioning Grid Engine cluster can be brought online – hosted at Amazon Web Services – within 10 minutes. One can literally sign up and be running science workloads within minutes. That, today, is unique.

Q: What does RightScale bring to Grid Engine users?

A: RightScale brings tremendous efficiency and simplicity to Grid Engine users. In a traditional IT environment (i.e., one running outside the cloud), it can take weeks or even months to provision the hardware and equipment required for creating an HPC cluster. With cloud computing and infrastructure resources from Amazon, that process is narrowed down to minutes.

But in addition to provisioning the hardware, scientists, engineers, and researchers are still tasked with having to configure the application stacks in order to begin performing useful work. This is where RightScale comes in. With the click of a button, RightScale not only provisions all of the hardware within Amazon’s cloud –we also layer all of the Univa Grid Engine software on top. So users can focus on what matters: running the workloads that are core to their business. RightScale and Univa manage all the provisioning and configuration. All users need to do is load their application and data, and begin their work.

Q: Is the solution only for end customers

A: The solution is pre-packaged for end customers but can be readily customized for use within a validated technical computing SaaS solution. For example, an ISV can leverage the Univa HPC solution in their own ServerTemplate within the RightScale MultiCloud Marketplace to build a fully customized HPC offering. This enables them to bring a complete solution to market quickly without having to build or manage the back-end, metering, or billing.

Q: How does one evaluate the solution?

A: We have partnered with Univa and Amazon to offer a free trial (including AWS credits) available now to qualified users. It’s the fastest way to get started with One-Click HPC, and completely free. Within minutes of completing registration, users can walk through the SaaS-based wizard to provision their Grid Engine HPC cluster.

Q: Will RightScale be at SuperComputing 11?

A: Yes. We will be at the Univa booth #5501. Come by and ask us about our joint HPC cloud solution and the free trial offer.

For more information or to sign up for the Free Trial including Amazon Web Services credits, please visit

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