Cloud Computing

Cloud Supercomputing (part 2): Where is it heading?

In this four-part series we consult a panel of 12 experts to determine the role of cloud supercomputing now and in the future. Part two looks at where this is likely to head short, medium and long-term.

“Short term, the lowered access barrier to High Performance Computing (HPC) means that more businesses are able to deploy that technology to solve problems. This, along with the rise of big data, is creating a demand for scientifically-trained engineers who can exploit the technology and data overlaps in new ways.

From a long-term perspective, supercomputers will unlock hidden patterns in the big data stored by enterprises and government.

The growth of the Internet of Things, real time systems and algorithmic trading and mobile computing exposes new opportunities as individuals become massive data nodes. Supercomputing will facilitate insightful real-time responses to what’s happening right now.”

Giri Fox, director of customer technology services at Rackspace


“Now, more than ever, cloud has become accessible to everyone.  HPC, which enables supercomputing, has been growing rapidly across all industries.

HPC has been one of the last categories of workloads to move to the cloud, due to specialised requirements, including performance, power and connectivity. Thanks to cloud solutions that include bare metal servers, InfiniBand, and high speed, low latency networks, HPC workloads in the cloud are on the rise.”

There are still some HPC environments that are not yet suited for cloud due to extreme power requirements (which comes with its own specialized needs, like cooling) or extremely large-scale deployments. However, we’ve found that that HPC cloud solutions are a good fit for about 65-80% of our customers with HPC workloads, especially those with small to mid-size workloads. And that percentage is growing thanks to advancing bare metal GPU capabilities. As an industry, we’re getting there and we’re moving pretty quickly.”

Jerry Gutierrez, Global HPC Sales Leader at SoftLayer, an IBM Company


“True cloud supercomputing currently remains an interesting niche, and one which is probably too expensive to be pursued other than as a trophy. However, we can expect everyday computation and data analysis to become ever more widespread on ‘ordinary’ cloud hardware, and of course the capability of the ‘ordinary’ cloud hardware is increasing rapidly.”

Dariush Marsh-Mossadeghi, director of technology strategy & architecture at DataCentred


“As long as these resources can be delivered in a cost-effective manner we can expect to see new types of user bringing innovation to their sectors that could revolutionise life for the man in the street.

Look at the investment the Meteorological Office is making in supercomputers and consider how other organisations with more modest budgets can use similar technology to make their own strides forward.”

Dale Hyde, business manager at Frontier Technology 


“In the general sense, ‘cloud supercomputing’ is like any other kind of cloud computing, appropriate connectivity to suitable resources typically using the internet as an access medium.  It is really more of a cultural and organisation issue related to human conditions and change management.

Central to the adoption of cloud computing of any type is the issue of trust.  If trust is defined as needing to know where my workload is running, being able to personally touch or see the physical system and to know exactly all of its specifications, then cloud is a bit of a problem. If trust is knowing that the resources being used are suitable for my needs, that the results will be delivered within an agreed timeframe and with the agreed level of quality, then cloud is not a problem.  So I expect supercomputing to be increasingly delivered as cloud-based services over time.  More at the pace of human change and ability to adapt rather than anything technology-based.”

Peter ffoulkes 451 research


“It’s already clear cloud supercomputing is on the rise, seeing huge increases of consumption well into the next year.  However, with endpoint devices (workstations and thin clients) becoming more and more powerful in their own right, the demand for this resource may level off.”

Asad Malik, Product manager at MTI

Read the rest of this series:

Cloud Supercomputing (part 1): What is it?

Cloud Supercomputing (part 3): Factors in development?

Cloud Supercomputing (part 4): How will it help society?


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