Category Archives: Cloud

Virtualization, the Cloud, and HPC

Virtualization has been proven to be a viable architectural approach that addresses the many challenges of today’s datacenters. Now HPC is adopting virtualization in new and exciting ways that don’t compromise on performance.

By creating a virtualized infrastructure, the IT organization ensures that:

  • HPC Virtualization Guide - CoverDepartments, principal investigators and other key stakeholders receive the HPC resources they need when they need them Clusters and cluster nodes can be sized to meet specific application requirements
  • Different operating systems and software stacks can be hosted simultaneously on the same infrastructure and adjusted dynamically
  • IT can make efficient use of the underlying host hardware even though individual user jobs may only require a small number of CPUs
  • Hardware can be shared while providing fault and security separation between users
  • Policies can be enacted that allow high priority jobs to receive a higher “fairshare” of the underlying resources

For HPC environments, wrapping the virtualization infrastructure in a secure private cloud provides the most value to both the end users and the IT organization.

This approach enables self-provisioning, allowing researchers and engineers to instantiate the resources they need for a particular project without waiting for IT to create the resource for them. To instantiate a virtual HPC cluster, the user applies a previously defined blueprint that specifies the required virtual machine (VM) attributes, the number of machines involved, and the needed software – including the operating system and middleware. Users can fully customize the VMs to meet their specifications. The blueprint also allows the centralized IT organization to enforce corporate IT mandates – for example, security and data protection policies.

This solution assumes that end users will continue to run their familiar HPC batch schedulers within their virtual HPC clusters. At the same time, the VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and other components are able to dynamically manage the placement and priority of virtual machines on the underlying physical resources.

What the end user sees is an HPC cluster that looks just like a standard bare metal cluster running a standard job scheduler – there is no indication that they are interacting with virtual machines. This allows multiple engineering or research clusters to be instantiated on the same physical infrastructure – all available through a private cloud.

Underneath it all, virtualization is handling load balancing, protection, network services and all the other fundamentals that allow for multi-tenancy on the physical hardware while still delivering high performance. Cloud automation provides policy-based governance and logical application modeling to make sure that multi-vendor, multi-cloud services are delivered at the right size and service level for the task that needs to be performed.
Virtualization and cloud automation are fundamental attributes of a software defined data center, which allows IT to create private clouds that deliver agility and economies of scale while maintaining data sovereignty and governance.
Protecting Applications
Virtualization allows the adoption of advanced resiliency practices such as using telemetry from the underlying system to predict impending hardware failures and then proactively migrating the workload to another host to avoid application interruption. For example, the system would detect a potential fan failure or an increase in the rate of soft memory errors and take action to make sure the workload continues despite incipient system problems.

This approach should also reduce the need for frequent checkpointing and restoration, resulting in increased overall job throughput.

To learn more, download the insideHPC Guide to Virtualization, the Cloud, and HPC.

Newvem Startup Analytics Help You Know Your Cloud

In this slidecast, Zev Laderman from Newvem presents: Newvem – Know Your Cloud.

Newvem is the leader in enhancing cloud usage effectiveness through data analytics. Newvem’s suite of tools utilize both cloud data analysis and crowd sourcing to enable DevOps, IT Managers and other Cloud Stakeholders to get to the bottom of their cloud faster by operating more efficient, secure, and cost effective clouds.”

Read the Full Story * Download the MP3 * Subscribe on iTunes


Mellanox Powers Highly Efficient Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

imgresToday Mellanox announced a collaborative solution using VMware Virtual SAN, a hyper-converged storage product, Mellanox’s 10GbE interconnect and Micron’s solid-state drives (SSDs) that enables a highly efficient Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployment.

The solution consists of 3 servers running VMware vSphere and VMware Virtual SAN, each with one Mellanox ConnectX-3 10GbE NIC, two Micron 1.4TB P420m PCIe solid-state drives and six hard disk drives (HDDs). Combined, the three servers support 360 Virtual Desktops with less than 5 minutes boot time, significantly reducing the total cost per user.

VMware’s Virtual SAN aggregates locally-attached disks in a vSphere cluster to create a storage solution that can rapidly be provisioned from VMware’s vCenter™. This simple model saves both time and money while delivering high-performance with SSD caching.

We are happy to see the growing adoption of VMware Virtual SAN,” said Alberto Farronato, director, product marketing at VMware. “We are pleased that Mellanox and Micron have recognized the advantages that Virtual SAN enables and have integrated it into their joint VDI solution.”

Mellanox’s scale-out 10/40/56GbE products enable users to benefit from a far more scalable, lower latency, and virtualized fabric with lower overall fabric costs and power consumption. These benefits yield greater efficiencies, and simplifies and streamlines storage management compared to traditional Ethernet fabrics.

Visit Mellanox Technologies at booth #2023 or Micron at booth #929 to learn about the benefits of using this flash-based storage solution.

AMAX to Showcase CloudMax OpenStack Solution at VMworld

Amax logoToday AMAX announced that the company will showcase its award-winning CloudMax Converged Cloud Infrastructure Solution at VMworld 2014, to be held August 24-27th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

CloudMax, recent winner of Intel’s Server Innovation Award for Best Data Center Product, is a total turnkey private cloud solution featuring OpenStack integrated with either traditional server or Facebook-inspired Open Compute (OCP) platforms, Open Networking/SDN support capabilities, and multi-hypervisor integration including VMware’s vSphere ESXi, Citrix’s Xen, Windows Hyper-V and KVM. Easily deployed within days and provisioned in minutes, CloudMax is the simple and flexible way to bring up, maintain and scale your private cloud. For customers who need further assistance with setting up their environment or further customization, AMAX offers professional services ranging from feature development to onsite installation for a full plug and play experience.

CloudMax can also be deployed as a cloud platform compatible with cloud operating systems outside of the CloudMax™ software. For customers who are using VMware’s vSphere and are looking for a more cost-effective way to scale their infrastructure, CloudMax’s hardware platform is also validated with vSphere and can be deployed as a vSphere platform with vSphere loaded in place of the CloudMax software, giving customers the ultimate flexibility in how they want to deploy and scale their cloud.

Private clouds work best as converged total solutions with built-in modularity,” said James Huang, Product Marketing Manager, AMAX. “Whether deployed as a complete converged solution based on OpenStack to run multiple hypervisors, or as a platform to extend an existing vSphere infrastructure, CloudMax™ is a fully-integrated yet customizable private cloud solution designed with agility, scalability, operational cost efficiency and compatibility in mind.”

AMAX will be showcasing the OCP Open Rack version of the CloudMax infrastructure along with demos of the CloudMax OpenStack software featuring a centralized management GUI for automated machine discovery, allocation, configuration and total management of the OpenStack cloud environment.

OSC Powers Welding Simulation in the Cloud

awesimThe DOE has announced a grant to Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus (Emc2) and its partners for $1 million to develop a cloud-based tool that will simulate welding processes employed in the manufacture of metallic products.

Small and mid-sized manufacturing firms need improved weld-fabrication processes to ensure improved quality at lower costs to remain globally competitive,” said Frederick “Bud” Brust, Ph.D., senior research leader at Emc2. “A sophisticated high performance computing based tool will be accessible to SMM firms on a supercomputer center to easily permit use of these tools at affordable prices.”

Emc2 seeks to adapt a welding design software package known as Virtual Fabrication Technology, or VFT, to a more accessible “app” format through the Ohio Supercomputer Center’s (OSC) AweSim program. VFT is a mathematics-based computational tool developed in conjunction with Caterpillar in the late 1990s, with improvements since then to permit small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMM) to take advantage of the benefits of high performance computing. VFT allows designers to “predict weld-induced distortion and residual-stress states so that weld-design strategies can be implemented to significantly reduce or eliminate these undesirable states prior to fabrication.”

For this project, Emc2 has partnered with members of the AweSim program, a $6.4 million initiative led by the Ohio Supercomputing Center. The program kicked off last summer when the Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded the public/private partnership a $3 million Innovation Platform Program grant to design and deploy easy-to-use advanced “manufacturing apps.” Client partners are funding the balance of the three-year project.

Ubercloud Announces Technical Computing Marketplace and Appstore

In this video from ISC’14, Wolfgang Gentzsch announces the new Ubercloud Technical Computing Marketplace and Appstore.

Two years ago the UberCloud started its free HPC Experiment which today has attracted more than 2,000 organizations and individuals from computational fluid dynamics, finite element material analysis, multi-physics, chemistry, life sciences, biology, finance, big data, and the HPC community. Today, UberCloud announces the addition of its Marketplace and Appstore, where engineers and scientists can discover, try and buy the computing power and expertise they need for their computational and data-intensive tasks.”

Read the Full Story.

In related news, the Second Ubercloud Compendium of Case Studies is now available for download.

Video: What’s New in Moab 8.0 for Cloud & Big Workflow

In this video, Trev Harmon from Adaptive Computing presents: HPC, Cloud & Big Workflow: What’s New in Moab 8.0.

Adaptive Computing powers many of the world’s largest private/hybrid cloud, and technical computing environments with Moab, its award-winning optimization and scheduling middleware software. Moab enables large enterprises, academic institutions and governments to perform simulations and analyze data faster, more accurately and most cost effectively with its Technical Computing, Cloud and Big Data solutions for Big Workflow applications. With dynamic scheduling, provisioning and management of multi-step/multi-application services across HPC, Cloud and Big Data environments, Moab inspires users to pursue game-changing endeavors. Adaptive Computing’s Moab speeds the time to discovery, allowing the business to gain a competitive advantage.

HP is Looking for a Cloud Deployment Engineer – HP Helion in our Job of the Week

Hewlett-Packard in Seattle, WA is looking for a Cloud Deployment Engineer – HP Helion in our Job of the Week.

“HP has been a consistent leader in defining the next generation computing platforms, and we are doing this again with #HPHelion and the next-generation open source computing platform. More than 2,000 enterprise customers and 37% of the Fortune 100 use our cloud solutions today and serve as the foundation for HP Helion. HP is the #1 private cloud provider in the world. We are a leader in OpenStack and Cloud Foundry foundations and communities. HP is committed to investing billions of dollars in HP Helion products, services, technologies and programs, and the global reach of HP Helion, over the next three years.

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FusionStorm Boosts Its Cloud Computing Offering with Peak’s Enterprise Cloud and NetApp Storage Platform

Peak announces that it will bring its world-class Infrastructure-as-a Service (IaaS) capabilities to FusionStorm to give the IT solution provider a more robust cloud solution.

“FusionStorm specializes in helping our clients connect their employees, partners and customers by building solid foundations for their IT infrastructure,” states Mike Souza, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for FusionStorm. “We know that the cloud has become a key component in delivering resources, increased capabilities and flexibility to our clients, and Peak’s cloud is unmatched in terms of technology and their hands-on expert support at all levels. Peak’s cloud also allows us to easily integrate a NetApp storage component, which is key for our customers.”

Read the Press Release.

AgileIT is Looking for a Senior Microsoft Cloud Engineer in our Job of the Week II

AgileIT in San Diego, CA is looking for a Senior Microsoft Cloud Engineer in our Job of the Week II.

“Our San Diego network support team is looking for a Microsoft Solutions Engineer (Office 365, Azure, Hyper-V, and Powershell) to assist and support our customer projects.  Join the expert Agile IT team and work in a highly dynamic environment with leading Microsoft architects. Under the direction of project managers and Principal Architects, you will perform customers engagements remotely from our San Diego network operations center (near Sea World).

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Global Music on Demand Market to Grow Says a New Research Report at

Sandler Research has issued a report detailing the surge in desire for on demand music from various devices. The report says a big portion of the increase is due to the escalation of offerings in music from social media platforms.

“Cloud computing provides consumers with legal access to music online and is rapidly being adopted by firms because it enhances portability, enabling subscribed users to access digital content stored in remote servers irrespective of the devices used. Listening to music, initially, was only possible using devices such as iPods. But the current scenario is witnessing consumers switching to an access-based approach, which consists of subscribing to digital music libraries stored in the cloud.

Please read the Press Release.

OpenStack Delivers the Future of Cloud with Robust Open Source Features

Over at Talkin’ Cloud, David Darrough reports that leading open source cloud solutions provider, OpenStack, is showing the way into a cloud-based future with superb offerings in storage, compute and networking.

“The goal of the OpenStack Foundation is to serve developers, users, and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds, enable technology vendors targeting the platform and assist developers in producing the best cloud software in the industry.

Read the Full Story.

Informatica is Looking for a Senior Sales Operations Analyst – Cloud in our Job of the Week II

Informatica in Redwood City, CA is looking for a Senior Sales Operations Analyst – Cloud in our Job of the Week II.

“Reporting into the Chief-of-Staff for Cloud & Subscription Sales, you will be joining a fast moving, and the fastest growing business at Informatica. You will need to be agile, energetic, thoughtful and collaborative. You will be empowered to grow the depth and breadth of your experience and “write your own job description” and “create your own role”. This position has two major focus areas, where you will divide your attention and energy on.

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Virtustream Takes a New Approach to Take on the Giants of Cloud Computing

Over at Network World, Brandon Butler, reports that Virtustream–while not as big as Microsoft and AWS–has carved out a nice niche in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) world and takes a unique consultancy approach.

“Co-CEO and CTO Kevin Reid describes it like this: You can’t just walk into a bank and deposit $100,000; the financial institution would ask questions, making sure the money is not laundered or gained from some illicit activity. Similarly, Virtustream doesn’t just allow customers to swipe a credit card and get access to hundreds of thousands of virtual machines holding sensitive data of its large enterprise customers. “We want to know our customers,” says Reid, who used to manage a consulting firm that was bought by Capgemini before working at Virtustream. “We run more of what could be considered a community cloud, or a country club cloud. None of the workloads in our cloud are unknown to us – we know where they came from.”

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Docker Set to Rule Container Architecture for Cloud Portability

Over at  InfoWorld, David Linthicum reports that Docker has truly positioned itself as a big player in cloud portability and generally in cloud computing–especially with the endorsement of Google and Red Hat.

“Everyone loves Docker. What’s not to like? It’s a very nicely constructed container architecture that provides better cloud-to-cloud portability and workload management. It also sets a great foundation to build cloud-based distributed systems that can be moved around much easier than the cloud workloads we manage these days.

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Netflix and Verizon Go After Each Other in War in the Cloud

Over at InfoWorld, David Linthicum reports that Netflix is fuming mad at Verizon over its fiber optic network and its lackluster performance.

“Verizon sells a cloud service of its own that Netflix does not use, and both companies sell streaming video services. Verizon customers who are also Netflix subscribers must access their Netflix content via their Verizon account. That seems to be where things go wrong for Netflix customers with Verizon accounts. Who didn’t see this coming?

Read the Full Story.

MathWorks is Looking for a Senior Software Engineer – MATLAB on the Web (Cloud) in our Job of the Week

MathWorks in Natick, MA is looking for a Senior Software Engineer – MATLAB on the Web (Cloud) in our Job of the Week.

“The MathWorks is looking for a smart, creative and energetic Senior Software Developer with interest in building massively scalable concurrent systems whose interest, curiosity and passion drives innovation and production quality to new levels.  Successful candidates will work on a cohesive engineering team who share an intrinsic drive for delivering high quality products.

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CoolIT Systems Announces New Split Flow Design

CoolIT has announced receiving a patent for the company’s Split Flow Heat Exchanger technology.  The patent allows for greater cooling design while using less energy overall.

“This is a key patent for the company that adds significantly to our IP portfolio,” said Geoff Lyon, CEO & CTO of CoolIT Systems. “The invention relates to a compact method of delivering coolant through an opening over a central section of micro-channels resulting in a superior level of performance.  This patent strengthens CoolIT’s position with our proprietary technology giving us a tremendous advantage in the market.”

Read the Press Release.