Cloud computing has been making an appearance on all fronts for the past years. Gaming, financial services, public services, and even in the media and entertainment industry. And we don’t see any reason why organization should not adopt it. Cloud offers scalability, flexibility and it will allow you to save on maintenance cost. With that in mind, does High Performance Computing (HPC) still have its place in the future?

Cloud computing vs. High Performance Computing: What’s the difference?

Let’s have a quick reminder of what hyperscalers, private cloud, High performance computing are and what they provide.

Cloud computing illustration

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a broad concept that refers to a set of different IT services:

  • Servers,
  • Storage,
  • Databases,
  • Networking,
  • Software,
  • Analytics,
  • Intelligence.

There are 3 types of Cloud computing services: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud.

Public Cloud is maybe the most common and known type of cloud service. Both businesses and individuals entrust their data to a cloud service provider to be accessible, processed and stored on a public server.

Private Cloud is the same as a public but unlike public cloud, the storage and servers are not owned by a third-party provider. They are, indeed, owned and used exclusively by the company itself.

The definition of Hybrid cloud is self-explanatory: a combination of both public and private clouds. Data and applications are shared among the public and private clouds allowing real time agility and flexibility regarding computing tasks and workloads.

High Performance Computing

High-performance computing is technically a supercomputer that allows the processing of data at an extreme high-speed thanks to the thousand cores that run it. HPC has the ability to perform complex calculations and massive data processing and it provides fast network performance as well.

Wired data center illustration


Hyperscale servers are a kind of setup that supports thousands of virtual servers using cloud infrastructure. Hyperscale allows the organization to gain flexibility and scalability by managing the use of their servers. They can deactivate or activate them as needed, depending on their workloads. Thus, allowing cost saving on energy. Hyperscalers like AWS, Microsoft, Google or Alibaba are the main providers of this kind of computing solutions.

We can keep writing on Cloud computing for hours as it’s a very broad and interesting topic. However, we are more interested in what Cloud can do regarding computing workloads. To answer their needs for an IT infrastructure that can keep up with their workloads and to process data at light speed, organizations prefer to go for a traditional HPC infrastructure. We are looking here for performance.

Old computer illustration

Will High Performance Computing become obsolete?

We’ll spoil the answer to that question for you: HPC has a bright future in front of it. Event though, it is true that cloud computing remains the sought-after service right now and the most profitable. While Cloud computing generates a lot of profit, HPC relies on investment to be able to run the required system to process data at a very high speed. Hyperscale cloud is normally completed through off-site data centers meaning the companies have less control on their data and become dependent on hyperscaler offers.

In 2018, The European Union even founded the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking to develop a pan-European supercomputing infrastructure that would be able to do at least one hundred million billion – 1017 calculation per seconds. On February 3rd, 2022, they announced 3 new research and Innovation projects to develop independent microprocessor and HPC technology and advance a sovereign European HPC ecosystem. The final goal of these projects is to secure European autonomy and sovereignty in HPC components and technologies.

An evolution of HPC is taking shape into exascale computing: a new generation of performance that allows system to perform more than a billion billion (or 1018) calculations per second. In opposition to what they can do: a million billion – 1015.

HPC x Cloud

We saw previously that HPC would not get eaten by Cloud computing easily. The same way there are people who endorse Apple over Samsung, or PC over consoles, there is also those who are on the Cloud side and the HPC side. We should approach this debate in a more pragmatic way.

An organization doesn’t have to choose one over the other. They are complementary.

Cloud and HPC illustration

HPC as a Service

Our HPCaaS, HPC infrastructures are managed as a service and delivered by a Public Cloud provider. Organizations won’t have to handle the entire HPC infrastructure themselves.

Hybrid HPC

An alternative for organizations that don’t want to hand their entire data to a third party, like Hybrid Cloud, Hybrid HPC has a part of the HPC environment installed on site. Meaning an organization can have some services operating on an on-site server while the other services are located in the cloud.

Coupling the capacity of HPC to run heavy workloads with all the advantages that Cloud can provide would be the ideal set up. In that way, HPC hardware could be adjusted to a company’s needs:

  • Cutting-edge tech. The cloud provider would give the user access to the latest tech;
  • Scalability. The user can increase or decrease storage depending on their current needs;
  • Security. The provider is the one responsible for the user’s data, disaster recovery;
  • Accessibility. The beauty of the cloud is that it allows data accessible from anywhere at anytime;
  • Cost saving. On space, energy, maintenance, hardware upgrades, the list goes on…

When it comes to choosing between a traditional on-site installed HPC and the cloud, it comes down to speed and cost.

We know that HPC won’t go anywhere, and it works well with Cloud. However, the choice will depend on your needs and your budget.

Hypertec has been supporting businesses for years, one of our representatives can customize at scale and work with you to meet your very specific needs.

Reach out to us today!

This post is also available in: FR

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