Nimbix Adds Arm Support to Multi-Cloud HPC Platform

By Tiffany Trader

December 15, 2020

HPC cloud specialist Nimbix today announced its JARVICE XE Enterprise HPC platform now supports the Arm architecture. With its latest software release, Nimbix says that JARVICE XE is the first container-native HPC hybrid cloud platform to support all major CPU architectures: x86, OpenPower and Arm.

“Enterprises deploying JARVICE XE software now have a single HPC control plane that can span multiple datacenters, multiple clouds, and multiple hardware architectures, easily mixing and matching traditional x86 workloads with new and fast-emerging high performance Arm workloads,” said the company.

The new capability grew out of an engagement with Riken, where Nimbix has been helping the Japanese research agency implement Kubernetes on its Arm-based Fugaku supercomputer.  The collaborators have ported JARVICE XE to the Fujitsu FX700 architecture (essentially a smaller version of the Fugaku server that uses InfiniBand instead of the proprietary TofuD interconnect) and are aiming to have JARVICE (and Kubernetes) running on Fugaku in the first half of 2021.

In an interview with HPCwire, Nimbix Chief Technology Officer Leo Reiter said JARVICE XE can be used with any Arm platform, so long as it supports Linux and Kubernetes. Currently, JARVICE XE is deployed on Fujitsu FX700 systems (which like Fugaku are powered by the Fujitsu A64FX CPU), and JARVICE also supports Amazon’s Graviton processors, either as a fully standalone resource or as a processing target from an existing JARVICE-based system.

In addition, Nimbix also announced it is expanding its HyperHub Application Marketplace to enable developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to deploy or port their applications and algorithms to Arm-powered platforms both on-premises or in the cloud.

Reiter said that the JARVICE XE platform is available and fully enabled for Arm now, but that the company is still working on the ISV side to support an ecosystem of turnkey workflows for the Arm platform, like it has established for OpenPower and x86.

Nimbix doesn’t yet offer Arm platforms in its HPC cloud service (Nimbix Cloud), but says it will build that capability according to the needs of its customers. While Nimbix was an early proponent and purveyor of accelerated HPC cloud, the company has over the past three years expanded its focus to licensing its full-stack software, ie JARVICE, a complete cluster and storage management solution that enables customers to leverage cloud-based resources from single pane of glass, using their on-premises deployment as the nucleus.

With JARVICE, customers can execute a multi-cloud strategy using their own datacenter assets combined with other third party clouds, according to Reiter. “On the software side of the house, we really focus on licensing the software, which is the platform, the user interface, the systems management, all that stuff, combined with the [HyperHub] application marketplace, where our ISV partners publish their applications,” he explained.

As Nimbix goes about proving the viability of its multi-platform technology through collaborations such as the one it has with Riken, it expects more enterprise engagements to follow.

“For 2021, we see expanding quite a bit, especially with the fact that you can now run Arm instances in the cloud,” said Reiter. “What’s been missing there is obviously the ease of use, and that’s what our platform brings. It’s that turnkey HPC solution.”

The container-native approach is fundamental to Nimbix’s implementation of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud HPC. The JARVICE platform is fully containerized as are all of the workflows that run off the JARVICE platform.

“This brings several key benefits,” according to the CTO. “Depending on how the infrastructure is deployed, it could realize higher performance than virtual machines, because you can actually do things directly on bare metal and use the container security versus having to create a hypervisor environment, which is much heavier. But even more importantly than that, [containerization] gives you application mobility in workloads. Instead of having to go and set up multiple infrastructures and install software on them, and kind of move workloads around, once they are containerized, you can basically target them at any infrastructure, and the entire container-native stack takes care of running the workflow where you chose to run it without you having to install anything.”

Current Arm server platforms, such as the A64FX, Graviton CPUs and Ampere’s Altra Max, are built on Arm’s Neoverse platform. “We are pleased to have leading hybrid cloud platforms, such as Nimbix JARVICE XE, offering native support for Arm to enable new levels of performance and compute capabilities,” said Brent Gorda, senior director of HPC, Arm, in a prepared statement.

Nimbix debuted JARVICE in 2013 as “the world’s first container-native supercomputing cloud platform.” JARVICE is an acronym for “Just Applications Running Vigorously in a Cloud Environment.” The enterprise-focused JARVICE XE was launched as an independent software product in 2018 (it was initially called JARVICE 3.0).

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