April 27, 2012
Penguin Computing is flapping its wings, as it has received Intel's Data Center Innovation Award at the Intel Solutions Summit.
A press release describes the award as going to a company that exhibits "… successful deployment and integration of a data center or server solution resulting in superior return on investment for the client." This year, the Penguin on Demand (POD) cloud service gained that recognition from Intel.
We spoke with Arend Dittmer, director of product marketing at Penguin, about the news and the company's cloud offerings.
"If you do the math [POD] provides an enormous ROI for customers in different scenarios," he explained, "For example, customers that can't really afford to deploy an in-house HPC infrastructure – it makes so much more sense for them to use high performance computing on a pay-as-you-go basis."
The HPC on-demand model has seen some high profile use lately. Cycle Computing recently spun up a 50,000-core cluster over a three-hour time span, using Amazon's service. Computational chemists used the resources to identify suitable drug compounds for cancer research. Total cost of operation ran just shy of $5,000.
Penguin's cloud operations currently occupy datacenters in Salt Lake City, Mountain View and Indiana University. The latter, dubbed the academic cloud, is used strictly for government and academic research. Between its three facilities, the POD service has roughly 3,000 cores available for compute jobs. While this infrastructure is far smaller than Amazon's, Dittmer provided a few key differences between Penguin and its competitor.
"We actually run all HPC compute nodes on bare metal, without a virtualization layer involved. So customers don't have to allocate compute instances and tear them down when they're done," he said.
The service uses virtualization to provide access to gateway nodes, but all the jobs are bare metal.
Beyond providing on-demand compute cycles, Penguin has taken the concept further and offered on-demand application licenses as well. In this case, a cloud user would have a single point of payment for cycle and application usage. By making this option available, Penguin can offer applications that provision licenses to specific hardware.
When asked about use cases for the application-on-demand service, Dittmer mentioned IMMI, a company that manufactures safety systems. To model products like rollover cages for semi-trucks, IMMI uses POD to provide compute power as well as instances of LS-Dyna, an application used to simulate vehicle crashes.
One of the most interesting features about Penguin's cloud offering comes from their turnkey systems. The company makes the POD service available to users of in-house clusters in what was described as transparent offloading of excess workloads.
So far, Penguin on Demand has processed more than 15 million compute jobs for organizations including Dolby, Fluid Inc., IMMI and the California Institute of Technology. Increased focus on manufacturing and materials discovery may result in higher demand for HPC resources. Cloud offerings present an attractive option for organizations looking to avoid up front capital expenses.
Researchers from the Suddhananda Engineering and Research Centre in Bhubaneswar, India developed a job scheduling system, which they call Service Level Agreement (SLA) scheduling, that is meant to achieve acceptable methods of resource provisioning similar to that of potential in-house systems. They combined that with an on-demand resource provisioner to ensure utilization optimization of virtual machines.
Experimental scientific HPC applications are continually being moved to the cloud, as covered here in several capacities over the last couple of weeks. Included in that rundown, Co-founder and CEO of CloudSigma Robert Jenkins penned an article for HPC in the Cloud where he discussed the emergence of cloud technologies to supplement research capabilities of big scientific initiatives like CERN and ESA (the European Space Agency)...
When considering moving excess or experimental HPC applications to a cloud environment, there will always be obstacles. Were that not the case, the cost effectiveness of cloud-based HPC would rule the high performance landscape. Jonathan Stewart Ward and Adam Barker of the University of St. Andrews produced an intriguing report on the state of cloud computing, paying a significant amount of attention to the problems facing cloud computing.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.