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High-Performance Computing in the Cloud is Possible Featured

High-Performance Computing in the Cloud is Possible "Morning on the top of the mountain"

High-performance computing (HPC) is the ability to process data and carry out complex calculations at fast speeds. An example of HPC solutions is the supercomputer. A supercomputer contains thousands of compute nodes working together to complete tasks in what is called parallel processing. With data, groundbreaking scientific discoveries are made, innovations are fueled, and improved quality of life for many people globally. With HPC, there is a strong foundation of scientific, societal and industrial developments.

As organizations increasingly embrace cloud computing, HPC has become critical in cloud adoption. According to Forrester Research, there are some signs that cloud computing will benefit significantly from HPC. Unlike the traditional HPC, there is a promise of better high-performance computing in the cloud. Although there are many success stories of many industries on the cloud, it is different when it comes to looking at markets that have relied on HPC. With the adoption of the cloud-based HPC, things might take a different turn. For instance, new market entrants will enjoy a competitive legacy over the incumbents who rely on legacy systems just by adopting cloud computing.

Legacy companies have expensive engineering talent that queue to run workloads on specialized high-performance infrastructure. Across all the scientific or science-related sectors of the economy that account for about half of the HPC market, HPC workloads may sit idle in the queue for a long time as they wait for their job to run. For startups, it can be easy for them if they take a shortcut through the cloud, which constantly iterates. With the constraints associated with capital which is a characteristic of startups, cloud-based HPC gives them a chance for survival and success like the established businesses. They need to focus on getting the right engineers and money for their core business operations while not worrying about experts in HPC and infrastructure.

HPC and the cloud

Despite the challenges that legacy systems present, there is hope in cloud-based HPC. Rescale is an example of companies that has taken advantage of cloud-based HPC by creating a brokering middleware business specializing in HPC. This organization, just like its competitors, is bridging the gap between on-premises and cloud worlds with regard to HPC workloads. Cloud offers companies such as Rescale an opportunity to access the optimal resources they need to process HPC jobs and automate their workflows. Furthermore, the cloud gives them real-time granular bookkeeping regarding the details required by the customers.

Why cloud HPC?

The common complaints about engineering organizations regarding HPC include the clusters being tied up, inflexible setup with low automation, lack of a way to add short-term capacity fast, lack of a proper remote visualization, poor collaboration, and lack of qualified personnel or experts. Cloud computing rectifies these complaints in many ways. It increases flexibility and scalability by adding public cloud resources and combining internal resources with private cloud. Furthermore, it increases engineer productivity by running on large on-demand clusters that use parallel computing and performs optimization. Cloud increases accuracy by removing CPU limitations, allowing engineers to use detailed models. It offers access to specialized hardware, including large memory, new processor architecture, and GPUs. The cloud cuts engineering and licensing expenses by reducing computation time, thus eliminating the effort to simplify models to fit the existing hardware limits.

With the brittle HPC systems in place today, there is a need to create a bridge to take advantage of cost savings related to the cloud. The combination of the traditional HPC with the cloud provides the potential to make HPC more responsive to the changing needs of enterprise and elastic infrastructure.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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