UberCloud Marketplace for HPC as a Service Goes Live

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

January 29, 2014

UberCloud is the online community and marketplace where engineers and scientists can discover, try and buy the computing power and expertise on demand they need for their computational and data-intensive tasks.

With the limits of their desktop workstations often unable to provide enough computing power and memory, simulations taking too long, and the number of jobs too small to get quality results, engineers and scientists are looking for additional computing power beyond their desktop workstations. The UberCloud Marketplace provides access to a wide variety of computing providers, software vendors, enabling tools, and independent experts to simplify and ease the search for the most suitable service providers and expertise, out of hundreds that joined UberCloud in the last 18 months.

The process is simple. End-users register at the UberCloud website and complete a form to “Request a Quote from Resource Providers”. They provide information about their application, software and licenses, network interconnect, main memory per node, number of parallel cores, total CPU usage, MIC/GPUs needed, storage, remote visualization, and instructions about timing, urgency, and location of resources. And they can ask any question via UberCloud’s LiveChat feature. Then, the UberCloud takes care of the reset: automatically searching for suitable resource providers; collecting up to three quotes and sending them to the end-user; then the end-user is free to contact any or all of them to discuss the details. That’s it.

UberCloud Marketplace Video

About the UberCloud

Successful companies use high performance computing to build better products, faster, cheaper. They have the options to use desktop workstation, HPC cluster, and cloud computing resources. For organizations looking for ways to speed up their product design and development cycles, or increase productivity of their engineers and researchers, the UberCloud helps to understand how they can access high performance computers at professional data centers.

The UberCloud started in July 2012 with the free voluntary HPC Experiment which today has over 1000 participating organizations and individuals, from 68 countries. We believe that on demand access to remote computing resources (like HPC Clouds) will become an indispensable part of the engineers and scientists R&D work in the near future, for organization in HPC, computational fluid dynamics, finite element material analysis, multi-physics, chemistry, life sciences, biology, big data, and others.

To explore the challenges of the end-to-end process for an end-user to access and use remote computing resources, we are building “Teams of Four”, i.e. industry end-user, software provider, resource provider, and HPC expert, to work together on the end-user’s application, defining the requirements, getting the licenses and implementing the software on the remote system, running and monitoring it, getting the results back to the end-user, and writing a short case study about their experience, lessons learned, and recommendations, for the benefit of our community. So far, we were able to build 125 international teams and published the UberCloud Compendium with the 25 best case studies about CAE in the Cloud, sponsored by Intel. We invite everybody to join the UberCloud HPC Experiment.

In addition, the UberCloud offers a services directory, case study discussion forums, technology and services webinars, a monthly newsletter, and other detailed information, to discover how to utilize HPC as a Service. And finally, for those who are ready to use HPC as a Service in production, the UberCloud now offers the public marketplace for engineers, scientists, and their service providers.

Why Do We Need an HPC Marketplace?

The benefits of using HPC within design and development processes can be huge; such as better quality products; high Return on Investment (ROI); reducing product failure early in design; and shorten time to market. Potentially, this leads to increased competitiveness and innovation. Why then are many engineers and scientists running simulations just on their workstations, although many are regularly dissatisfied with the performance? The main reason is that the other alternatives are still coming with a lot of challenges.

The first alternative of buying an HPC server comes with high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as has been demonstrated by IDC already in 2007: in addition to server cost, expenses for staffing, training, software, downtime, and maintenance easily sum up to the ten-fold of the server cost over three years. Also, there are often long and painful internal procurement and approval processes. And for many, the ROI is not clear, although it is expected to be huge according to a recent IDC study on ROI in HPC.

The second alternative is recently offered by cloud computing. HPC in the Cloud (or HPC as a Service) allows engineers and scientists to continue using their own desktop system for daily design and development, and to submit (burst) the larger, more complex, time-consuming jobs into the cloud. Benefits of HPC Cloud (in addition to HPC in general) are among others on-demand access to ‘infinite’ resources, pay per use, reduced capital expenditure (CAPEX), greater business agility, and dynamically scaling resources up and down as needed.

However, HPC as a Service (in the Cloud) comes with challenges too: it is a new business and working paradigm, for the manager as well as for the engineer; security, privacy, and trust in service providers is an issue; conservative software licensing is only slowly including the pay-per-use service model; Internet bandwidth is often not able to accommodate the heavy data transfer needs; unpredictable costs of cloud computing can be a major problem in securing a budget for a given project; and there is often a lack of easy, intuitive self-service access and use of cloud resources.

And here comes the UberCloud community and marketplace which provides a platform for engineers and researchers to discover, explore, and understand the end-to-end process of accessing and using HPC Cloud resources, and to identify and resolve the roadblocks as described above. After recognizing the strategic benefits and implications for their business, end-users then can buy HPC as a Service, on demand. The marketplace assures best matching of resources from the many participating providers with the end-user’s requirements, and then offering a selection of suitable resource providers to the end-user.

Final UberCloud Marketplace figure1

Fig. 1 – The image on the right shows the temperature field of the room, while the left image shows the velocity field at a certain time of the transient simulation.

UberCloud Case Study: Fluid Dynamics Simulation with Heat Transfer in the Cloud

In many engineering problems fluid dynamics is coupled with heat transfer and many other multiphysics scenarios. The simulation produces large numerical models to be solved, so that big computational power is required in order for simulation cycles to be affordable. For SME companies in particular it is hard to implement this kind of technology in-house, because of its high investment cost and the IT specialization needed.

Biscarri Consultoria in Spain decided to explore the capabilities of cloud computing for performing highly coupled computational mechanics simulations, as an alternative to the acquisition of new computing servers to increase the computing power available. UberCloud Team 30 consisted of members Lluís M. Biscarri and Pierre Lafortune from Biscarri Consultoria in Spain, Wibke Sudholt and Nicola Fantini from CloudBroker GmbH in Switzerland, Joël Cugnoni, researcher and developer of CAELinux, and Peter Råback from CSC in Finland. CloudBroker used Amazon’s IaaS cloud offerings EC2 for compute and S3 for storage resources for this experiment.

The validation case was a room with a cold air inlet on the roof, a warm section on the floor and an outlet on a lateral wall near the floor. The initial air temperature was 25ºC. The submission of jobs to be run at AWS was done through the web interface of the CloudBroker Platform. The team’s case study reports quite some challenges which had to be overcome before the jobs ran smoothly on AWS, details are described in the UberCloud Compendium. Simulation results are shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Final UberCloud Marketplace figure2

Fig. 2 – Streamline on the inlet section.

“The main lesson learned at Biscarri Consultoria arising from participation in the UberCloud Experiment is that collaborative work over the Internet, using on-line resources like cloud computing hardware, Open Source software such as Elmer and CAElinux, and middleware platforms like CloudBroker, is a very interesting alternative to in-house calculation servers,” said Lluís Biscarri, Director at Biscarri Consultoria SL. “A backbone network such as 10Gbit Ethernet connecting computational nodes of a cloud computing platform seems not to be suitable for computational mechanics calculations that need to be run on more than one large AWS Cluster Compute node in parallel. Infiniband is necessary when running in parallel on more than one AWS Cluster Compute instance with 16 cores, to reduce latency and increase bandwidth.”

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!

AWS Embraces FPGAs, ‘Elastic’ GPUs

December 2, 2016

A new instance type rolled out this week by Amazon Web Services is based on customizable field programmable gate arrays that promise to strike a balance between performance and cost as emerging workloads create requirements often unmet by general-purpose processors. Read more…

By George Leopold

AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

December 1, 2016

Amazon Web Services now offers a way to move data into its cloud by the truckload. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Dec. 1, 2016)

December 1, 2016

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

HPC Career Notes (Dec. 2016)

December 1, 2016

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high performance computing community. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

IBM and NSF Computing Pioneer Erich Bloch Dies at 91

November 30, 2016

Erich Bloch, a computational pioneer whose competitive zeal and commercial bent helped transform the National Science Foundation while he was its director, died last Friday at age 91. Bloch was a productive force to be reckoned. During his long stint at IBM prior to joining NSF Bloch spearheaded development of the “Stretch” supercomputer and IBM’s phenomenally successful System/360. Read more…

By John Russell

Pioneering Programmers Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

November 30, 2016

In an awards ceremony on November 22, President Barack Obama recognized 21 recipients with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

November 29, 2016

Roughly a year and a half after its launch, the SAGE exascale storage project led by Seagate has delivered a substantive interim report – Data Storage for Extreme Scale. Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

December 1, 2016

Amazon Web Services now offers a way to move data into its cloud by the truckload. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

November 29, 2016

Roughly a year and a half after its launch, the SAGE exascale storage project led by Seagate has delivered a substantive interim report – Data Storage for Extreme Scale. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE-SGI to Tackle Exascale and Enterprise Targets

November 22, 2016

At first blush, and maybe second blush too, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) purchase of SGI seems like an unambiguous win-win. SGI’s advanced shared memory technology, its popular UV product line (Hanna), deep vertical market expertise, and services-led go-to-market capability all give HPE a leg up in its drive to remake itself. Bear in mind HPE came into existence just a year ago with the split of Hewlett-Packard. The computer landscape, including HPC, is shifting with still unclear consequences. One wonders who’s next on the deal block following Dell’s recent merger with EMC. Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Details AI Hardware Strategy for Post-GPU Age

November 21, 2016

Last week at SC16, Intel revealed its product roadmap for embedding its processors with key capabilities and attributes needed to take artificial intelligence (AI) to the next level. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

SC Says Farewell to Salt Lake City, See You in Denver

November 18, 2016

After an intense four-day flurry of activity (and a cold snap that brought some actual snow flurries), the SC16 show floor closed yesterday (Thursday) and the always-extensive technical program wound down today. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Why 2016 Is the Most Important Year in HPC in Over Two Decades

August 23, 2016

In 1994, two NASA employees connected 16 commodity workstations together using a standard Ethernet LAN and installed open-source message passing software that allowed their number-crunching scientific application to run on the whole “cluster” of machines as if it were a single entity. Read more…

By Vincent Natoli, Stone Ridge Technology

IBM Advances Against x86 with Power9

August 30, 2016

After offering OpenPower Summit attendees a limited preview in April, IBM is unveiling further details of its next-gen CPU, Power9, which the tech mainstay is counting on to regain market share ceded to rival Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

September 30, 2016

Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon's G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Think Fast – Is Neuromorphic Computing Set to Leap Forward?

August 15, 2016

Steadily advancing neuromorphic computing technology has created high expectations for this fundamentally different approach to computing. Read more…

By John Russell

The Exascale Computing Project Awards $39.8M to 22 Projects

September 7, 2016

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) hit an important milestone today with the announcement of its first round of funding, moving the nation closer to its goal of reaching capable exascale computing by 2023. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Gobbles SGI for Larger Slice of $11B HPC Pie

August 11, 2016

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced today that it will acquire rival HPC server maker SGI for $7.75 per share, or about $275 million, inclusive of cash and debt. The deal ends the seven-year reprieve that kept the SGI banner flying after Rackable Systems purchased the bankrupt Silicon Graphics Inc. for $25 million in 2009 and assumed the SGI brand. Bringing SGI into its fold bolsters HPE's high-performance computing and data analytics capabilities and expands its position... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ARM Unveils Scalable Vector Extension for HPC at Hot Chips

August 22, 2016

ARM and Fujitsu today announced a scalable vector extension (SVE) to the ARMv8-A architecture intended to enhance ARM capabilities in HPC workloads. Fujitsu is the lead silicon partner in the effort (so far) and will use ARM with SVE technology in its post K computer, Japan’s next flagship supercomputer planned for the 2020 timeframe. This is an important incremental step for ARM, which seeks to push more aggressively into mainstream and HPC server markets. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Debuts Power8 Chip with NVLink and Three New Systems

September 8, 2016

Not long after revealing more details about its next-gen Power9 chip due in 2017, IBM today rolled out three new Power8-based Linux servers and a new version of its Power8 chip featuring Nvidia’s NVLink interconnect. Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Vectors: How the Old Became New Again in Supercomputing

September 26, 2016

Vector instructions, once a powerful performance innovation of supercomputing in the 1970s and 1980s became an obsolete technology in the 1990s. But like the mythical phoenix bird, vector instructions have arisen from the ashes. Here is the history of a technology that went from new to old then back to new. Read more…

By Lynd Stringer

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Silicon Photonics Chip, Previews Next-Gen Phi for AI

August 18, 2016

At the Intel Developer Forum, held in San Francisco this week, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager Diane Bryant announced the launch of Intel's Silicon Photonics product line and teased a brand-new Phi product, codenamed "Knights Mill," aimed at machine learning workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Beyond von Neumann, Neuromorphic Computing Steadily Advances

March 21, 2016

Neuromorphic computing – brain inspired computing – has long been a tantalizing goal. The human brain does with around 20 watts what supercomputers do with megawatts. And power consumption isn’t the only difference. Fundamentally, brains ‘think differently’ than the von Neumann architecture-based computers. While neuromorphic computing progress has been intriguing, it has still not proven very practical. Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC Engineers Strategy to Democratize HPC

September 29, 2016

The freshly minted Dell EMC division of Dell Technologies is on a mission to take HPC mainstream with a strategy that hinges on engineered solutions, beginning with a focus on three industry verticals: manufacturing, research and life sciences. "Unlike traditional HPC where everybody bought parts, assembled parts and ran the workloads and did iterative engineering, we want folks to focus on time to innovation and let us worry about the infrastructure," said Jim Ganthier, senior vice president, validated solutions organization at Dell EMC Converged Platforms Solution Division. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Container App ‘Singularity’ Eases Scientific Computing

October 20, 2016

HPC container platform Singularity is just six months out from its 1.0 release but already is making inroads across the HPC research landscape. It's in use at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where Singularity founder Gregory Kurtzer has worked in the High Performance Computing Services (HPCS) group for 16 years. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Micron, Intel Prepare to Launch 3D XPoint Memory

August 16, 2016

Micron Technology used last week’s Flash Memory Summit to roll out its new line of 3D XPoint memory technology jointly developed with Intel while demonstrating the technology in solid-state drives. Micron claimed its Quantx line delivers PCI Express (PCIe) SSD performance with read latencies at less than 10 microseconds and writes at less than 20 microseconds. Read more…

By George Leopold

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