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HPE has delivered a suite of high performance computing cloud services for IT shops that need more compute muscle to run AI workloads.
The new services, available through the company's GreenLake cloud platform, come in three fully managed, pre-bundled services to accommodate small, medium and large organizations. The services can be ordered through a self-service portal. From start to finish, users can customize their configuration in less than two weeks, the company said.
The rapid growth of public and hybrid clouds has more specifically shaped corporate users' expectations about how they want to consume and manage HPC workloads, said Peter Ungaro, head of HPE's High Performance Computing business.
"Users want the cloud experience where everything is automated, self-serve and they can pay only for what they use," Ungaro said in a press briefing. "They also want someone to manage all this for them on the back end with things like capacity performance patches, freeing up people and resources to focus on more critical business needs. This is what we are responding to."
Cloud HPC market growth
The future of the HPC market appears to be focused on the cloud. In 2019, the HPC cloud market grew by double digits, marking the fifth consecutive year of such growth, according to Intersect360 Research, and is maintaining that pace this year. This consistent growth has impacted the server segment of the HPC market, which only grew 2.4%. In its five-year forecast through 2024, Intersect360 predicts HPC servers will continue to grow at "below-market rates," while cloud computing will remain the highest growth area.
Despite the consistently high growth rate, cloud HPC offerings may not become the predominant use for a while.
"The public cloud is still a small portion of the general high-performance computing market and there are some challenges around data movement and sovereignty we have seen in our market trends," said Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect 360, which focuses on the high performance computing market. "But this set of [HPE] announcements are important and should help them competitively."
With money to be made the next few years, the cloud HPC market is getting crowded with multiple top-tier cloud providers and server companies, such as Dell Technologies, jumping in.
"The big cloud providers, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and now Alibaba, are delivering HPC cloud-based services, so HPE has some company here," said Steve Conway, senior advisor for HPC market dynamics with Hyperion Research. "Right now, only 20% of all HPC jobs are running in the cloud."
The interest of the major cloud providers has been piqued, Conway said, for two reasons: first because users have gradually adjusted their infrastructures to be more accommodating to HPC workloads; and second is the laser-like focus on AI.
"Given what is happening at the forefront of research and development for AI, HPC is becoming indispensable," Conway said. "[Cloud-based] HPC is really showing where the mainstream AI market is headed."
Daniel NewmanPrincipal analyst, Futurum Research/CEO, Broadsuite Media Group
HPE is betting big that the new cloud-based services can continue to boost the visibility of GreenLake, a cloud technology the company hadn't played up for the better part of a decade until last year when it made the platform more central to its long-term strategic initiative. At the heart of that initiative is to become a predominantly software-as-a-service company in the 2022-2023 timeframe.
"HPE's vision to be an as-a-services company with GreenLake means going after customers who have picked hybrid clouds as their choice architecture," said Daniel Newman, principal analyst with Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. "But with OEMs amping up their offerings, this is an area HPE has to be aggressive. So far, it's had a healthy return on the [GreenLake] business the past several quarters."
New management, analytics services for HPC cloud services
Other potential uses include improving the manufacturing of sustainable materials to help make important millisecond decisions in financial markets and help improve discovery in a range of drug treatments by research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies.
The new HPE cloud services in GreenLake Central give users an improved software platform from which to manage and deploy as well as optimize HPC services to meet shifting workload demands. The company also debuted a self-service dashboard so users can run and manage HPC clusters on their own without disrupting workloads in progress.
The new HPE Consumption Analytics offers administrators at-a-glance analysis of usage and cost based on metering conducted through HPE GreenLake. Also being rolled out is the company's HPC, AI & App Services offering to standardize and package HPC workloads into containers which, according to the company, makes it easier to modernize, transfer and access data. The factory process can be used to more quickly move applications into a container platform on an as-needed basis.
Zenseact, a developer of autonomous driving offerings based in Sweden and China, used the new cloud services to build an as-a-services offering for modeling and simulation capabilities for analyzing hundreds of petabytes of data generated from its test vehicles and software development centers. The company's goal is to simulate autonomous driving experiences as a way to improve driver safety.
The first pre-bundled offerings of GreenLake cloud services for HPC will be available in the spring of 2021. The company will also expand the new services to work with Cray-based compute, software, storage and networking technologies, but declined to say when those offerings would be available.