October 24, 2017
In the latest turn of events, Microsoft has partnered with Cray. The Azure platform will now have Cray’s supercomputers and storage systems. The Azure cloud computing service will be handling the needs those with high-performance computing (HPC) workloads.
Cray’s newest systems, like the XC and CS series, are now standards-based supercomputers that use Nvidia GPUs and Intel processors. This has resulted in an achievement of peak performance. Of course, these machines are extremely expensive, considering that Cray’s focus has always been on high-performance computing needs of the industry. With machine learning becoming the new in-thing, Cray systems are being used more frequently.
However, there are times when a workload needs high performance, low-latency interconnects and storage. This is where Microsoft stepped in and has added Cray XC and CS supercomputers clusters along with ClusterStor storage to its Azure lineup. The machines are intended for tasks such as analytics, climate modeling, engineering simulations, and scientific and medical research.
The Azure computing recourses are generally shared among customers. However, the Cray supercomputers will be dedicated resources. This certainly confirms that Microsoft won’t be offering timesharing or temporary borrowing of a supercomputer!