HPC Cloud is Building

By Nicole Hemsoth

August 27, 2012

The pressure to reduce the cost of doing business is an unrelenting theme for most companies and IT departments. IT managers and administrators have more choices today than the traditional “one size fits all” notion when it comes to HPC environments. Many in the HPC community are closely evaluating not just whether HPC workloads are appropriate for cloud environments, but how to best leverage cloud computing to be meet their organization’s needs.

A business case for HPC clouds

A cloud infrastructure allows organizations to respond to user demands in minutes rather than weeks. HPC infrastructure can be shared, and the required computing resources needed to support an application are either already present or can be rapidly incorporated into the cloud pool. Cloud management software enables internal and external resources to be provisioned on the fly, rather than being requisitioned, purchased, installed and configured – a time consuming and expensive process. By removing or streamlining entrenched silos, organizations can benefit from an inflexible legacy infrastructure to one that responds to new business or user needs in real time.

Automation, self-service and the delivery of application services put control in the hands of the IT managers and administrators — they are able to more efficiently balance all their resources to meet the constantly changing demands of application users.  The users can then request the precise resources they need for a specific application with the confidence they will get it quickly. The bottom line for the organization is faster delivery of HPC services, which speeds up time to results and, in the business world, allows the company to be more competitive.


Building a Private HPC Cloud at DuPont

DuPont is building a dynamic, multi-disciplined R&D computing platform using a hybrid private cloud-cluster infrastructure model. This new model allows the DuPont computing group to save administrative cost, reduce capital investments, simplify and consolidate the overall infrastructure while simultaneously meeting client requirements for a highly dynamic, diverse environment.

View this recent webcast which addresses the requirements, challenges and architectural decisions made in the implementation of this computing platform at DuPont. 


Architectural design: public, private or hybrid?

Cloud computing can take various forms, leading to the current confusion about how to define the term. The two major types of clouds are public and private clouds

Private clouds are used by organizations to pool internal IT resources for shared use and to increase overall resource utilization. A key benefit of implementing a private cloud is that control and security can be handled internally. Departments can negotiate pricing contracts with internal IT based on their requirements or skip billing altogether when the cloud is treated as a shared resource.

Private clouds also allow organizations to have greater visibility and control over mission critical service level agreements (SLAs). In addition, they support IT’s obligation to oversee fundamental corporate requirements including governance, compliance, business continuity, cost reduction, and risk management.

The value of a private cloud management platform is independent of location and ownership of the resources. In addition to using internal data center resources, a private cloud may also incorporate resources from external public clouds. Known as cloud bursting, this hybrid model can help an organization avoid the need of provisioning for peak aggregate resource demands.

A hybrid approach can be very advantageous for HPC environments because it can provide the extra power boost needed to complete a workload whose requirement is larger than the available resources in the local datacenter.  In particular, a cloud bursting approach should be considered for the following:

  • When local job pend time estimates for a job get very large.
  • When local time elapsed run time is large. A corollary to this condition is when the job can be parallelized, but there are insufficient resources locally to run the job quickly—then cloud bursting the job may return results to users sooner than allowing the job to run on insufficient resources.
  • When the job’s data transfer requirements into and out of the cloud are small.
  • If it is a parallel job, then it is appropriate only when latency sensitivity for performance is low.

With public clouds, a service provider makes computational, storage, and other IT resources available over the Internet to customers that range from individuals to organizations as diverse as enterprises, government, and academia. Public clouds provide capital and operating expense reductions by allowing customers to pay for use instead of owning assets. In addition, they can provide a potentially wider range of hardware, scalability and expertise than may be available in-house.

Public clouds are located outside the corporate firewall and are managed by a 3rd party hosting provider. These clouds have their own set of services that may not meet the internal needs of an organization. They are generalized compute platforms that are designed to handle generic types of user demand, often in the form of a limited selection of virtual machines. While this is sufficient for some individuals and applications, such public clouds may unsuitable for HPC applications where the performance impact is simply too large.  However, the only way for an organization to know whether or not external resources are appropriate is to benchmark cloud resources against their internal system.

To add an additional layer of complexity, not all IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) providers are created equal.  IBM has developed a whitepaper that evaluates the merits and challenges of public clouds from both a qualitative and quantitative standpoint, contrasting three separate IaaS providers against specific criteria important to HPC users.  To compare the IaaS providers, IBM ran benchmarks that were representative of the types of application workloads used by most HPC users. The paper is designed for architects or data center managers considering the use of public cloud infrastructure to augment their HPC environments.  It includes guidance on how to evaluate key include factors such as pure performance, reliability and instantiation speed.

Business barriers to building a cloud

In addition to architectural implications, there are some business barriers to consider when thinking about whether cloud will fit into an HPC environment, such as:

  • Security and Intellectual Property –The data in the cloud very often represents core intellectual property for the commercial enterprise. The possibility that commercial competitors could be using the same shared computing resource should not be ignored. 
  • Licensing – Most commercial enterprises employ third-party software from an ISV to run or manage their HPC simulations. With each of these applications comes a legal agreement describing where the application can be executed, and often these agreements restrict applications to a customer’s site.  If legal issues are not barriers then licenses being consumed in the cloud and locally in a datacenter offer technical challenges for keeping the licenses available to all application instances that require them.
  • Data Movement – Until an organization adopts cloud computing and abandons their own datacenters, models for simulations (or methods for creating them) and results must be transferred between the cloud provider and the customer’s datacenter.  This is complicated, however, as Internet bandwidth is very limited for transferring large files, and for most IaaS providers, all data moved in and out of the cloud is a “for charge” service by the gigabyte.
  • Pricing Model – The pay-per-use model often sounds very enticing to customers because prices are based on an hour of compute time. However, for long term usage public cloud prices are typically two to three times more expensive than owning the hardware and maintaining it yourself over the course of two years.  Companies should strategically balance when it is advantageous to use the public cloud versus local servers.

Summary

HPC users can now move beyond the “one size fits all” notion when it comes to HPC environments.  There are still lots of choices available to HPC users today, and one of those choices is cloud computing.  Under the right conditions with the right management software, the cloud can be very useful for HPC applications.

IBM Platform Computing solutions for HPC Cloud are designed to transform static computing resources into flexible, high performance clouds that can be shared, remotely managed and easily provisioned. For more information, visit ibm.com/platformcomputing or contact us at info@platform.com.

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!

Musk’s Latest Startup Eyes Brain-Computer Links

April 21, 2017

Elon Musk, the auto and space entrepreneur and severe critic of artificial intelligence, is forming a new venture that reportedly will seek to develop an interface between the human brain and computers. Read more…

By George Leopold

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Cori Shows the World How Many-Cores for the Masses Works

April 21, 2017

As its mission, the high performance computing center for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, NERSC (the National Energy Research Supercomputer Center), supports a broad spectrum of forefront scientific research across diverse areas that includes climate, material science, chemistry, fusion energy, high-energy physics and many others. Read more…

By Rob Farber

Nvidia P100 Shows 1.3-2.3x Speedup Over K80 GPU on Financial Apps

April 20, 2017

When it comes to the true performance of the latest silicon, every end user knows that the best processor is the one that works best for their application. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Remote Visualization Optimizing Life Sciences Operations and Care Delivery

As patients continually demand a better quality of care and increasingly complex workloads challenge healthcare organizations to innovate, investing in the right technologies is key to ensuring growth and success. Read more…

Quantum Adds Global Smarts to StorNext File System

April 20, 2017

Companies that use Quantum’s StorNext platform to store massive amounts of data this week got a glimpse of new storage capabilities that should make it easier to access their data horde from anywhere in the world. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Scaling an HPC Career in Nepal Can Be a Steep Climb

April 20, 2017

Umesh Upadhyaya works as an IT Associate at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, which supports the country’s one and only HPC facility. He is directly involved in an initiative that focuses on climate change and atmosphere modeling Read more…

By Nages Sieslack

Hyperion (IDC) Paints a Bullish Picture of HPC Future

April 20, 2017

Hyperion Research – formerly IDC’s HPC group – yesterday painted a fascinating and complicated portrait of the HPC community’s health and prospects at the HPC User Forum held in Albuquerque, NM. HPC sales are up and growing ($22 billion, all HPC segments, 2016). Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Open Sources All Lustre Work, Brent Gorda Exits

April 19, 2017

In a letter to the Lustre community posted on the Intel website, Vice President of Intel's Data Center Group Trish Damkroger writes that effective immediately the company will be contributing all Lustre development to the open source community. Damkroger also announced that Brent Gorda, General Manager, High Performance Data Division at Intel is leaving the company. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Cori Shows the World How Many-Cores for the Masses Works

April 21, 2017

As its mission, the high performance computing center for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, NERSC (the National Energy Research Supercomputer Center), supports a broad spectrum of forefront scientific research across diverse areas that includes climate, material science, chemistry, fusion energy, high-energy physics and many others. Read more…

By Rob Farber

Hyperion (IDC) Paints a Bullish Picture of HPC Future

April 20, 2017

Hyperion Research – formerly IDC’s HPC group – yesterday painted a fascinating and complicated portrait of the HPC community’s health and prospects at the HPC User Forum held in Albuquerque, NM. HPC sales are up and growing ($22 billion, all HPC segments, 2016). Read more…

By John Russell

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors. The infrastructure is based on the 68-core Intel Knights Landing processor with integrated Omni-Path fabric (the 7250F Xeon Phi). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN openlab Explores New CPU/FPGA Processing Solutions

April 14, 2017

Through a CERN openlab project known as the ‘High-Throughput Computing Collaboration,’ researchers are investigating the use of various Intel technologies in data filtering and data acquisition systems. Read more…

By Linda Barney

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Penguin Takes a Run at the Big Cloud Providers

April 12, 2017

HPC specialist Penguin Computing recently re-ran benchmarks from a study of its larger brethren and says the results show its ‘public cloud’ – Penguin on Demand (POD) – is among the leaders in cost and performance. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC and the Colocation Datacenter – a Bridge Too Far?

April 7, 2017

A more standardised HPC platform approach is making the running of HPC projects within increasing financial reach. Read more…

By Clive Longbottom, Quocirca

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference phase of neural networks (NN). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the campaign. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its assets. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

Joint DOE-NSA report responds to the increased global pressures impacting the competitiveness of U.S. supercomputing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This