AWS Official Blog

Build a Cluster Computing Environment in Under 10 minutes

by Jeff Barr | on | in Amazon EC2, Architecture, Hardware, HPC, Science |

We’ve created a new video tutorial, which describes how to setup a cluster of high performance compute nodes in under 10 minutes. Follow along with the tutorial to get a feel for how to provision high performance systems with Amazon EC2 – we’ll even cover the cost of the resources you use, through a $20 free service credit.

Why HPC?

Data is at the heart of many modern businesses. The tools and products that we create in turn generate complex datasets which are increasing in size, scope and importance. Whether we are looking for meaning within the bases of our genomes, performing risk assesments on the markets or reporting on click-through traffic from our websites, these data hold valuable information which can drive the state of the art forward.

Constraints are everywhere when dealing with data and its associated analysis, but few are as restrictive as the time and effort it takes to procure, provision and maintain the high performance compute servers which drive that analysis.

The cluster compute instance sizes available on Amazon EC2 can greatly reduce this constraint, and give you the freedom to run high specification analysis on-demand, as and when you need them. Amazon EC2 takes care of provisioning and monitoring your compute cluster and storage, leaving you more time to dive into your data.

A guided tour

To demonstrate the agility this approach provides, I made a short video tutorial which guides you through how to provision, configure and run a tightly coupled molecular dynamics simulation using cluster compute instances. The whole cluster is up and running in under 10 minutes.

Start the tutorial!

To help get a feel for this environment, we’re also providing $20 of service credits (enough to cover the cost of the demo), so you can follow along with this tutorial for free. To register for your free credits, just follow the link on the tutorial page.

In addition to getting up and running quickly, each cluster compute instance is no slouch either. They use hardware virtualisation to allow your code to get closer to the dual quad core Nehalem processors, and full bi-section 10Gbps networking for high speed communication between instances. Multi-core GPUs are also available – a perfect fit for large scale computational simulation or rendering. 

Just as in other fields, cloud infrastructure can help reduce the ‘muck’ and greatly lower the barrier of entry associated with working with high performance computing. We hope this short video will give you a flavour for things.

Get in touch

Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, or you can follow along on Twitter. I also made a longer form video, which includes a wider discussion on high performance computing with Amazon EC2.

~ Matt