Excerpts from an article by R. Colin Johnson in EE Times
Supercomputing-as-a-service has added a new meaning to SaaS now that Cray Inc. (Seattle, Wash.) has cut a deal with the Markley Group (Boston) to provide Cray supercomputers on a pay-as-you-go basis among Markley’s cloud computing offerings. Starting with the Urika-GX model, Markley plans eventually to offer the whole Cray supercomputer line on a cloud rental basis. Their first public demonstration will be at the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo 2017 in Boston starting May 23.
Today, to run programs in minutes on a supercomputer, compared to hours or days on a conventional server, you need to either buy your own, or beg for time on one owned (usually) by a U.S. National Lab. Academics routinely use national lab supercomputers, but even if given permission have to queue up their job with those from dozens of other beggars. Only the national lab itself routinely has access to all the resources of a supercomputer for a single job.
“There are no other supercomputers in the cloud,” Jeff Flanagan, executive vice president at the Markley Group told EE Times. “Our unique offering uses an independent reservation model by the week or even month for exclusive access to a Cray supercomputer — not sharing it with others.”
According to Cray, many users have been asking for supercomputers-as-a-service as a result of the massive amounts of data that businesses are having to process, sometimes taking weeks of months to get results back that management wants in hours or days.
“What is different today is the need for supercomputing beyond the national lab,” Fred Kohout, Cray senior vice president, told EE Times.
“We see this as an ‘and’ proposition, not an ‘or,'” Kohout told EE Times. “The more people that use a Cray supercomputer, the more they will want one, and Markley will even host it for them so they don’t have to build-out their own data center.”