Nimbix Expands JARVICE and Releases it as Independent Software Product

By John Russell

June 5, 2018

HPC cloud pioneer Nimbix today announced the expansion and upgrade of its proprietary software platform – JARVICE 3.0 – for use by Nimbix users as well as the launch of JARVICE 3.0 as an independent software product available to non-Nimbix users. The latter step has been an occasionally discussed element in Nimbix’s technology roadmap.

Nimbix is one of the few non-goliath cloud providers to provide an infrastructure that is purpose-built for HPC workloads. It features a broad offering of advanced processing – CPU, GPU, FPGA – environments and high-speed InfiniBand and Ethernet networks. JARVICE is the company’s core management platform whose ease of use and early embrace of container technology has been positioned as a key differentiator.

Today’s announcement was presented as a “Technology Preview” by Nimbix with access and licensing available later this month. Deep incorporation of Kubernetes container technology, expansion of JARVICE Services (pre-built workflows), and introduction of JARVICE 3.0 as a separate product are the main elements of today’s announcement.

Steve Hebert, Nimbix

“The concept of using containers to run cloud workloads has been in practice at Nimbix since our inception, so naturally as Kubernetes has gained traction in the enterprise for web services, we wanted to extend the industry-leading compute capabilities of JARVICE for HPC and AI into an infrastructure platform like Kubernetes,” said Nimbix CEO Steve Hebert in the announcement. “We’ve been working to democratize bare-metal cloud supercomputing technology over the last several years.  With JARVICE 3.0, our customers can bring Nimbix technology into their own data centers to support their fast-emerging advanced computing workflows.”

(For background on Nimbix’s container technology development and processor offerings see HPCwire article, HPC Cloud Provider Nimbix Rolls Out IBM Power9 Targeting AI).

CTO Leo Reiter told HPCwire, “We are calling this an Initial Release [of JARVICE as an independent product]. What drove this is the desire for large enterprise customers to run turnkey workflows on any infrastructure; public as in the Nimbix Cloud, private, or a hybrid of the two.”

JARVICE 3.0 can be used to burst to non-Nimbix clouds as well, said Hebert, “It will be runnable on any third-party infrastructure that supports Kubernetes. So customers will have a choice on bursting venue, although different classes of infrastructure are available from different providers and Nimbix Cloud may be preferred for heavier HPC workloads requiring InfiniBand, NVLink GPUs, FPGAs, Power9, Skylake, etc.”

Nimbix is targeting organizations which are: “standardizing and modernizing their data centers with containerized applications while retaining the option to burst to the public cloud. This complete platform will provide customers with a hybrid software solution that will run large scale HPC and AI workflows side by side with existing web service and container-native software, delivering the same seamless user experience of the Nimbix Cloud.”

The JARVICE 3.0 service catalog will be delivered as a set of containerized turnkey workflows, ready to run at scale on existing Kubernetes infrastructure using Nimbix’s advanced cloud technology. As described by Nimbix, in this model, Kubernetes acts as the underlying infrastructure layer while JARVICE 3.0 optimizes large-scale applications and delivers them with “point and click ease.”  This includes tightly coupled HPC solvers and distributed deep learning algorithms, utilizing advanced resources such as low latency fabrics and computational accelerators, according to the company.

JARVICE already ingests different container formats from various registries, Singularity, for example and will support alternative container technologies, but the initial release of JARVICE 3.0 will be focused on Docker, said Hebert.

After nearly a decade of waiting Nimbix hopes to cash in on the forecast growth of HPC use in the cloud, particularly by enterprises.

According to Intersect360 Research, 2017 was a breakout year for the growth of HPC in the public cloud. Cloud-based spending exceeded $1 billion, with an increase of 44 percent over 2016. The sudden expansion was concentrated in application hosting (software-as-a-service, SaaS), which grew 125 percent year-over-year. Intersect360 projects continued high growth through 2018 and 2019, with spending on HPC in public cloud eventually reaching nearly $3 Billion by 2022.

Addison Snell, CEO, Intersect360 Research

“We have been anticipating double-digit growth in cloud adoption for HPC for multiple years, and 2017 was the year it finally took off,” said Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research, quoted in today’s announcement. “The biggest challenge for an enterprise is managing an expanding set of high-performance workloads, including analytics and deep learning, against a diversifying set of technologies, such as new processors, storage, and interconnect architectures, while budgets have stayed near the same level. The container-based cloud approach in the JARVICE 3.0 platform gives users an option for scaling these workloads while managing both the cost of deployment and the risk of new technologies.”

Nimbix also announced today it was awarded a U.S. Patent (# 9,973,566), entitled “Dynamic Creation and Execution of Containerized Applications in Cloud Computing”. The technology describes the methods of using containers to run HPC workloads and workflows in the cloud, which takes containers as the packaging mechanism, deploys those for the computational or processing path and then destroys the containers once that processing is complete. That environment is then recreated within a given container and is ready for execution as the next secure, containerized workload.

“We first brought dynamic containerization of large-scale applications to market in 2013,” said Reiter. “This novel technology increases efficiency, improving time-to-results for all HPC workloads.   Our newly issued patent is recognition for years of innovation and operational experience with containers at scale, on bare metal, and we are excited to continue to push the envelope with ever-evolving technologies in this space.”

Nimbix has high hopes but also recognized it has challenges too. It’s a grow or die world, Hebert told HPCwire earlier this year, saying, “We measure. We want to know what the market growth rates are because if we are not gaining share as a smaller player, that’s not a good problem I want to face.”

Is acquisition a strategy? Back in March Hebert didn’t dismiss the idea. “I mean it would be speculative. I think we have incredibly innovative technology and I think the big guys should certainly take a look at that. We feel like we have invested a lot to help users with this capability that now is in exciting times. We probably started five years early but it is a good thing we did. I don’t think you could enter the market easily today; you would have to raise a lot [of capital.]”

It’s worth noting that Nimbix was an early supporter of IBM’s Power Systems offerings and was the first cloud provider to implement Power servers with Nvidia’s NVLink technology. The IBM Power9 with NVLink and PowerAI additions to the IBM Cloud (announced at IBM Think), and the Minsky Power8 systems, are located in the Nimbix cloud and run by Nimbix.

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