Jul 13, 2010
Amazon today said it would now also offer high-performance computing (HPC) through Cluster Compute Instances, which use more powerful processors and clustered nodes to help get around some of the latency issues associated with distributed computing. HPC has long taken advantage of many nodes working in tandem, but has typically connected those processors using Infiniband or low-latency networks. However, as the need for HPC becomes more popular, and the next generation of faster supercomputers grows more difficult to build (GigaOM Pro sub req’d), the cloud may offer some hope.
The rise of cloud computing owes a bit to HPC, but for the most part demanding workloads couldn’t take advantage of the cost benefits and flexibility associated with the cloud because of the latency within the cloud and the cost and time associated with moving terabytes of data back and forth from a lab to the cloud. Amazon has solved the data problem by using the postal service and also by acting as a free repository for some types of scientifically valuable information.