With HPC and Hyperscale Roots, RStor Aims to ‘Live Above the Clouds’

By Tiffany Trader

May 3, 2018

Backed by Cisco and emerging from stealth mode, startup RStor has an ambitious plan to be a true multi-cloud solution, billing its platform as the first to securely connect on-premise, cloud, and supercomputing facilities. It even provides brokering for partners or customers with excess compute capacity that they want to sell on the “grid.”

The RStor Multicloud Platform is designed for organizations deploying applications that require high-performance computing in the enterprise, what RStor has coined Enterprise Performance Computing (EPC) – which, coincidentally or not, calls to mind ECP, the U.S. DOE’s Exascale Computing Project.

RStor leadership’s curriculum vitae is steeped in HPC, hyperscale and enterprise computing. CEO and founder Giovanni Coglitore cofounded and was the original CTO of Rackable, the company that would go on to purchase and rebrand as SGI in 2009 (which was sold to Hewlett Packard Enterprise for $275 million in 2016). Coglitore also worked at Sony and most recently came out of Facebook, where he led the Open Compute Project. The rest of the RStor team includes infrastructure experts from hyperscale datacenter companies, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox and Amazon.

In an interview with HPCwire, Coglitore said that the RStor multicloud platform hinges on three pillars: “we unlock, we connect and we orchestrate.”

“We took a complete blank slate of thinking about how would we build a true multi-cloud reality,” he said. “We found that we need to be above the cloud; we need it to be agnostic. We needed to be able to interconnect all the cloud providers in a very fast, very cost-effective way. And we need to be incredibly flexible so there is not one right formula, and I think that is where mistakes have been made in the past, where the scheme is very restrictive.”

RStor’s multi-cloud platform aggregates and automates compute resources from private datacenters, public cloud providers and supercomputing centers on a next generation networking fabric, built on top of the Equinix backbone. RStor says its orchestration layer, accessible as an online platform or as dedicated on-premise software, uses machine intelligence to guide customers to the best resource to fulfill the job at hand, whether it’s on-prem, in the cloud or in a supercomputing center.

At launch last Thursday (April 26), RStor had lined up partnerships with Texas Advanced Computing Center, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, the New Mexico Consortium and San Diego Supercomputer Center. RStor Vice President of Strategy and General Manager Tim Harder indicated the likelihood of additional partners to be announced in the coming months.

You may recall that RStor is the company that funded Sylabs, Inc. the DOE/Berkeley Lab spinoff that launched in February to bring HPC container technology Singularity into the enterprise. And, no surprise, Singularity is a key enabler of the RStor platform. “Wrapping our applications in a Singularity container allows us to create a universal environment,” said Coglitore. “You can purchase an application through the online store and now that application is highly-portable. It allows you to go in and out to any of the cloud service providers and also inject the application into any of the supercomputing centers. It’s really been a barrier up until now and Singularity allows us to unlock this potential.”

Singularity, Coglitore went on to explain, is also an unlocking tool for additional untapped computing resources around the world. The secure containers enable untrusted users to access trusted environments, paving the way for RStor to be a broker for excess capacity to market. “Gone is the era of enterprises having to make critical buy decisions and hoping that they haven’t underbought or overbought capacity,” said Coglitore. ”If they’ve underbought we’ve got the ability to bring compute augmentation to on-prem, but very excitedly we’ve also been able to create a product that allows them to offer up underutilized slices in a secured way, by being on our fabric.”

We brought up the fact that various “cycle scavenging” schemes have been tried before in the heyday of grid computing. Coglitore’s response: “One thing I can say about high-tech I’ve learned over the years is good ideas can come early, good ideas could have been tried before and failed but good ideas should never be abandoned because someone has tried them at the wrong place at the wrong time. ’The grid is the computer’ was a good thought but you needed a fabric to bring that all together. And we’ve brought that fabric to play.”

The RStor fabric, grandly dubbed Internet 3.0 by the company, is undergirded by Equinix exchange points in San Jose, Calif., Ashburn, Va., and in the United Kingdom with plans to expand to Hong Kong, Singapore and Brazil. It’s a broadband, low latency connectivity scheme that allows you to do things that before now were very hard to accomplish, said Coglitore. Reported coast-to-coast latency is just 40 milliseconds, and “80 milliseconds roundtrip allows you to do interesting things like remote mount,” he added.

The company said its network uses advanced protocols to enable data transfer speeds up to 30x faster than traditional options and that its fabric “brings computational resources to where data lives, eliminating the need for complex data replication.”

As an example of this networking trick, the CEO cited a large bio-pharma company that used RStor’s on-prem product to stitch together five remote datacenters into one virtual datacenter — logically through the orchestration layer and physically through the fabric — so that they were able to connect their data set on the East Coast to their compute capability on the West Coast, and “transact that data through the fabric.”

In addition to using their own datacenter, RStor customers have the option to use RStor’s distributed data lake, to position data where it’s most advantageous. “Using [the Equinix] IBX exchange points we’re positioned in the global exchange regions where we connect to the CSPs [cloud service providers] so we enable our customers to bring choice to entering the cloud. The data lake allows you to have multi-partner engagement so today you might find the type of job you are running makes more sense to run in-house; tomorrow it may make sense to run a different application on the same dataset in Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center or San Diego Supercomputing Center or on a Cray supercomputer within the Azure cloud.

“That agnostic positioning of data in a way so you can interact with a multitude of different providers is what’s needed in being able to make that whole claim of being a truly a multi-cloud provider. We are not a CSP ourselves but we interconnect all the CSPs out there in a way that’s new and novel.”

The CEO added: “The low latency aspect is revolutionary; it really is a game-changer in the flexibility of allowing the interaction with a wide variety of different centers to create a virtual CSP. What we’ve designed is the ability to create the right processing power for the right application.”

RStor is currently in private beta with general availability planned for later this year. Customers can engage three ways: by cross-connecting directly through supported Equinix datacenters in the US and the UK, through the public online portal, and by deploying RStor’s packaged software in their on-prem datacenters. The online self-service portal supports containerizing an application, securing that application, and connecting that application between different service provider environments.

RStor has raised $45 million in venture capital money from Cisco and has a team of more than 50 employees. It has yet to make customer disclosures, but said it’s working with major life sciences outfits, the telco/media and entertainment space and retail.

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!

Nvidia’s Jensen 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, produ Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that d Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competition. This is the twelfth time that teams of university undergr Read more…

By Dan Olds

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

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 Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and much of the surrounding Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Jensen 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 Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

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

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

At SC18: GM, Boeing, Deere, BP Talk Enterprise HPC Strategies

November 9, 2018

SC18 in Dallas (Nov.11-16) will feature an impressive series of sessions focused on the enterprise HPC deployments at some of the largest industrial companies: Read more…

By Doug Black

SC 30th Anniversary Perennials 1988-2018

November 8, 2018

Many conferences try, fewer succeed. Thirty years ago, no one knew if the first SC would also be the last. Thirty years later, we know it’s the biggest annual Read more…

By Doug Black & Tiffany Trader

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

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide 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

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

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

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

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

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

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas 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