Lenovo today announced TruScale High Performance Computing as a Service (HPCaaS), which it says will offer a “cloud-like experience” to HPC organizations of all sizes. The new HPC-as-a-Service is part of the TruScale portfolio that Lenovo launched in February 2019 and expanded last September.
The aim, said Lenovo, is to enable end users to get HPC resources up and running as quickly as possible.
“The typical HPC user doesn’t usually have a problem with variable utilization. They’re mostly running at 90 percent plus utilization all the time. So the traditional as-a-service tech approach probably doesn’t hold a lot for them,” said Scott Tease, vice president and general manager of HPC at Lenovo, in an interview with HPCwire. “For universities, public sector sites and the big commercial users that already run HPC sites, what we’re trying to do with this new offering is allow them to use the TruScale for HPC as a means to add additional capacity ahead of the time it is going to be fully utilized.”
“With TruScale for HPC, what we hope we’ll be able to do for our customers is allow them to bring their capacity onboard early, and then grow into it as they get new, new workloads, new grants come in, new research opportunities come in and just grow into that in a more seamless fashion,” Tease added.
Lenovo also hopes to draw some of the smaller HPC sites, who may not even identify as HPC users, to move from a cloud-type model to an on-prem model with TruScale. A bank or a research house will be able to get the same economics and experience that they would get in a cloud, while having their systems on-site, close to their data, said Tease.
“We’re introducing it to our customers as a means to grow capability. Instead of doing everything as a CapEx, we’ll do a small amount as an OpEx, in the procurement. That OpEx fit that we negotiate will be the foundation for the future growth,” said Tease.
TruScale customers can either manage the computing resources themselves or utilize Lenovo’s full turnkey service, like they would get with a public cloud platform, said Tease. TruScale is also designed to be channel-friendly, Tease added, so if the customer needs an expert in EDA or a manufacturing code, or even VDI with Citrix, this can all be included in one TruScale contract.
Customers can use their preferred cluster management software or Lenovo will set them up with Lenovo’s Intelligent Computing Orchestration (LICO) software package, which is fully based on open source tools.
Lenovo’s vision for its HPC TruScale platform is for end users to be able to share infrastructure across multiple sites that are not necessarily public cloud, but they’re housed within the local community. The company also sees potential to enable hybrid workflows by creating ‘hooks’ from the on-prem infrastructure into the public clouds.
Lenovo expects to make further announcements about its TruScale HPC-as-a-Service platform in time for ISC in the spring.
Today’s announcement, made from Lenovo’s Winterstock event, comes at a time when HPC-as-a-Service offerings are proliferating. HPE introduced its GreenLake-branded HPC-as-a-Service offering in December 2020, and Dell provides a similar service under its APEX for HPC moniker.
Speaking to Lenovo’s differentiation, Tease said, “We want to show customers how [TruScale HPCaaS] can be used as a tool to grow their capabilities, bring resources onboard quicker, and get a faster time to answer. Most of what I see from those other companies is really aimed at the enterprise buyer. We’re trying our very best to solve problems that we think our big and small HPC customers are facing.”
Marketwatcher Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research, thinks it’s a good move. “This is a well-timed announcement by Lenovo as supply-chain delays and the lingering effects of the pandemic have continued to heighten organizations’ need for flexibility and on-demand consumption models,” he told HPCwire. “As the number-three vendor behind HPE and Dell, Lenovo needed an offer to compete with GreenLake and APEX, and TruScale delivers on the cloud-immersed benefits the market is looking for today.”