Feeds

Massed x86 ranks 'blowing away' supercomputer monoliths

Dell pitches modular parallel processors

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Supercomputing weather forecast: it's going to become cloudy

Calleja is also thinking of cloud computing. He makes a clear distinction between the cloud, with computing delivered as service, and grid computing with applications split across computing grids, across geo-clusters for example. He's not keen on this because of the need for massive data set transfers amongst other things.

There is an 8,000-core Dell HPC system in Holland which is idle at night and he could, in theory, rent some of that capacity and supply it to his users. They already use what is, in effect, a cloud HPC service from his data centre in Cambridge, with datasets stored in the cloud. Altering or adding another source of HPC cores, to be accessed over links from outside the firewall, would essentially make no difference to them.

The only change they would notice would be that their research budgets go further, since the core hours they buy would be cheaper. This assumes that needed data sets could be sent to the Dutch HPC centre somehow.

Calleja is also thinking of offering HPS services to users outside Cambridge University, both to other academic institutions and to small and medium businesses needing an HPC resource for financial modelling, risk modelling, automotive and pharmaceutical applications. He is looking at putting commercial multi-gigabit fibre feeds in place, outside the academic networks, to support this.

If he can sell core hours to more clients, then his running costs go down, and his core/hour prices also go down. A couple of other universities are already looking into the idea of using Cambridge HPC resources in this way. Calleja also gets three to four enquiries a month from SMEs about his data centre's HPC facilities.

He is not alone here. The academic JANET network is looking into a shared service model of operation.

If Calleja had profits from supplying cloud HPC services then he could afford more kit. He reckons that there is a sweet spot between university HPC data centres and larger regional HPC sites and his Cambridge data centre could grow to fill it.

The logic here is to build ever larger supercomputers with more and more powerful cores, perhaps backed up with GPUs. These would be operated at a high utilisation rate by delivering highly-efficient parallelised code resources to users, billed by the core hours they use. By keeping data sets inside the HPC lab it is, ironically, becoming another example of a re-invented mainframe approach: an HPC glass house. ®

* A gigaflop is one thousand million floating point operations a second. A petaflop is one million billion such operations a second.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Microsoft builds teleporter weapon to send VMware into Azure
Updated Virtual Machine Converter now converts Linux VMs too
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.