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Community Blog E-HPC – High Performance – No Fuss Computing

E-HPC – High Performance – No Fuss Computing

This article outlines the feature-rich Elastic-High Performance Computing (E-HPC) public cloud service by Alibaba Cloud.

By Shantanu Kaushik

High-performance computing, as the name suggests, provides very high-performance computing to tackle the world's most complex computing challenges. Alibaba Cloud came up with an iteration of the high-performance computing service by making it more elastic.

Alibaba Cloud E-HPC is an end-to-end public cloud service that can be deployed for use in high-density computing. Alibaba Cloud E-HPC can be plugged in to tackle complex computing needs, including research, academics, or any other trade.

What is High-Performance Computing?

High-performance computing (HPC) is comparable to supercomputing power, but it is more relatable and docile. It applies to small and medium enterprises. HPC scenarios include extensive space research, medical research, or any scenario that requires ultra-fast, large-scale calculations without much fuss.

High-performance computers are comprised of a linked processing power that is comparable to a cluster of high-performance server systems. Every single system in this linked cluster is known as a node. Just like a team, communication between these nodes is the key to a better optimized system.

Depending on how your organization wants to handle data, multiple nodes can be assigned to you. Alibaba Cloud includes elasticity with this approach. You can scale up and down depending on the kind of computing scenario you are handling.

An HPC is comprised of component services, such as compute power, network assistance, and storage. Software programs are the overlays that are used for the intercommunication of resources that form a cluster. Multiple algorithms account for maximizing resource utilization for an optimal system. Every component that is aligned with each other has to perform at an optimal rate to be in-sync with each other. This maximizes performance and provides a reliable and optimized system.

Why Do We Need HPC?

The main motivation is to solve complex problems without a dedicated system. A construction of nodes coming together to solve bigger problems is the simplest explanation of an HPC. It could be research labs used by scientists to dig deep into energy-based research, environmental analysis, or space research.

Alibaba Cloud E-HPC can be used in financial modeling or with artificial intelligence and machine learning scenarios. It could also be used within the media or entertainment industry, where editing or streaming large amounts of parallel data requires continuous and complex computing power. All of these scenarios are the tip of the iceberg. Any scenario that requires more computing power than usual or the need to analyze or assess large amounts of data could use the HPC.

The Alibaba Cloud Solution | E-HPC

Alibaba Cloud offers this as a High Performance Computing as a Service (HPCaaS). Alibaba Cloud's Elastic High-Performance Computing solution was designed to provide a performance packed solution that is ready to deploy with one click.

Alibaba Cloud E-HPC utilizes the Alibaba Cloud infrastructure to leverage all of the industry-leading solutions in one package for complex computing needs. Let's take a look at the delivery model of Alibaba Cloud HPCaaS:

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Alibaba Cloud E-HPC provides support for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). The chart below shows the differences between the three services:

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With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the core infrastructure, including high-performing CPU and GPU instances, are available for use without any hassle. The complete infrastructure to process and execute computing needs is available on the user's dashboard. With Platform as a Service (PaaS), the complete software stack for performance computing need works with the Alibaba Cloud infrastructure. With Software as a Service (SaaS), completely customizable application templates and other provider provided stacks can be utilized out of the box.

Benefits

Let's compare the benefits of E-HPC with traditional supercomputing clusters, cloud server cluster, and self-built HPC clusters:

E-HPC E-HPC Self-Built HPC Cloud Server
Highly Elastic and scalable
Clusters or nodes can be added without adding physical machines
Physical clusters have to be configured, and a team of engineers have to be there to perform management and maintenance operations Elasticity is dependent on the resources of the self-built HPC. The performance is limited to the number of deployed nodes and clusters. Software and hardware counterparts are managed based on which cloud service provider and type of cloud service you are using.
The ability to select an ECS or EGC instance as needed without additional configuration requirements Requires configuration and physical resource orchestration for compute or graphical compute needs. Different Instances can be orchestrated depending on the level of hardware and software algorithms in place Depends on the Cloud Service provider and your SLA
If it is a Hybrid Cloud setup, it depends on the private cloud setup
Alibaba Cloud security and authorization products back the E-HPC solution. There is no need for third-party security product deployment. Fully-managed products give you a hassle-free system. Security systems, physical data center security, and online security-related products and services have to be deployed and controlled based on analysis. A constant need for maintaining a security system falls on the user. Security suites and products have to be manually arranged or can be automatically managed by a service provider
Unlike Alibaba Cloud E-HPC, this incurs additional costs
Security products can be leveraged using the cloud services provider or by installing these products manually
Auto-scale up and auto-scale down are supported without the need for user interaction. Multiple products from the Alibaba Cloud lineup are automatically utilized to gather metrics and adjust resources. Scaling is dependent on the operating management software and system administrator. Scaling is dependent on the software counterpart and what infrastructure has been deployed for the solution. Scaling is managed by the Cloud Services Provider. If you are using Alibaba Cloud services, such as ECS and EGS instances, alongside products like Server Load Balancer, Cloud Monitor can be used to gather and adjust the scaling.
Optimization of software licenses to save costs Software licenses are managed manually Software licenses are managed manually or through a service Software licenses can be managed by the Cloud Services Provider.
Provides an extremely user-friendly software management service that supports most software stack functions of HPC applications All management operations are handled by the system administrators.
Not a fully-managed operation
Management software lineup for HPCs have high-intensity solutions for management and maintenance operations. Managed Cloud will provide some form of software management support depending on the cloud setup.
No hardware upgrade or additional software cost is involved Hardware or software upgrade costs are additional. Hardware or software upgrade costs are additional. Dependent on the type of cloud services integration.
Complete integration with Alibaba Cloud Services No integration with Alibaba Cloud Services Dependent on Cloud Link and services provider Dependent on the cloud services provider

Wrapping Up

Alibaba Cloud has had a technological journey that needs no introduction. Over the years, Alibaba Cloud has evolved into the leading cloud service provider. With various products and solutions that improve the cloud computing sphere, Alibaba Cloud caters to small, medium, and large enterprises.

The Alibaba Cloud Elastic High-Performance Computing service is a perfect solution for most academics or scientific research-based scenarios. The media and entertainment industry can also leverage the computing power churned by Alibaba Cloud E-HPC. Any enterprise that is looking for an elastic, scalable, secure, and reliable HPC solution can opt for Alibaba Cloud E-HPC. This is a feature-rich fully-managed solution that lets you yield the power of a supercomputer and perform complex calculations and processing in a few clicks. There is no hardware deployment or software licensing issues. It is simple computing to help you get your work done.

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