August 14, 2013
Since it launched last July, the UberCloud Experiment has held three rounds of trials that demonstrate the viability of running HPC workloads in the cloud. With the fourth round set to begin soon, attention once again focuses on encouraging the HPC community to invest in the development of cloud HPC resources that have the potential to benefit smaller organizations.
While the cloud computing has really started to take off in the last few years, interest in running HPC applications in the cloud has not kept up with spending and interesting levels in the overall cloud market, according to Wolfgang Gentzsch, who co-founded of the UberCloud Experiment with Burak Yenier in 2012.
"About a year ago, we were asking why HPC in the cloud is a little far behind the general cloud computing developments," Gentzsch said in a recent video interview with Primeur magazine. "The cloud market is already developing very fast…while HPC in the cloud is lagging behind. We are trying to find out what are the real hurdles and how we can resolve them."
Since then, the UberCloud has attracted participants from more than 500 organizations around the world who have taken part in more than 80 HPC cloud experiments. Each of these experiments is conducted by a team that's composed of several people--usually four--including an engineer at a small- to medium-sized end-user company who doesn't have deep HPC knowledge, an HPC application provider, and an HPC expert, Gentzsch said.
"We give them three months to finish the project, to write a case study about their experience with bringing application software into the cloud, and getting results back," he said in the Primeur interview with Ad Emmen. "We published a compendium recently with the 25 nicest use cases so far, sponsored by Intel, which can be downloaded from the HPCwire website." (The compendium can be downloaded at http://tci.taborcommunications.com/UberCloud_HPC_Experiment.)
Fifteen teams have already been composed for round four of the UberCloud Experiment, and Gentzsch said he expects another 10 to 15 more teams to be ready to begin experimentation with cloud HPC applications before the round begins.
But that's not all that's going on at UberCloud these days. According to Gentzsch, there have been 66 articles written by UberCloud participants, which includes the case studies as well as other stories. The group is also preparing to publish its second compendium of HPC cloud case studies.
Other UberCloud activities include a virtual exhibition and UberCloud University. The exhibition has attracted about 30 HPC software and service providers, who set up virtual booths on the Web that demonstrate their wares. UberCloud University presents a weekly lecture on cloud HPC topics, and is also open to vendors, but Gentzsch promises there is no marketing allowed.
"Usually these vendors pay a bit," Gentzsch explained. "This is part of our sustainability model because we are asked from the community to continue this over the next one to three years, because obviously there is huge interest in learning in this environment, of a free voluntary experiment supported by crowd-sourcing and social networking components."
Speaking of social networking, UberCloud is currently working on a new website that that will serve as a place where UberCloud members can meet virtually, discuss cloud HPC topics, and collaborate on new ventures. The new website is slated to launch in 2014, Gentzsch said.
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