Colocation, Connectivity Vital Elements of Growing HPC Strategies

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High-performance computing technologies are becoming more accessible in the enterprise, and colocation services are emerging as vital options . The rare combination of power, cooling and network functionality offered by colocation providers makes the data center leasing model a prime option for organizations exploring an entry into the world of high-performance computing. Reducing the typical capital costs of data center investments lowers the entry barrier to HPC systems, something that is a becoming key as more companies have an opportunity to explore how HPC technologies can transform their big data initiatives.

HPC systems on the rise across the enterprise
HPC technologies have long resided in highly specialized data center environments and were only accessible to organizations with the budget and mission needed to support the robust technology. This meant that, for the most part, HPC solutions were exclusive to laboratory and university settings where a combination of private and public funding was used to drive projects. As more industries have become dependent on data analytics, including using information to create simulations that forecast the future, more businesses have a use case for HPC systems. What's more, advances in the underlying technology that powers HPCs is making the hardware itself more accessible.

"HPC configurations have evolved to the point that they are accessible for many organizations."

According to a ComputerWeekly report, HPC configurations have evolved to the point that they are accessible for many organizations. To be clear, the news source isn't trying to say the average business can go out and buy the most powerful supercomputers on the market. Instead, entry level, cost-efficient HPC machines are increasingly using commodity hardware, making them a more cost-effective option for organizations with robust analytics needs. As the computers become more accessible from a price standpoint, data center facilities are emerging as the major roadblock to HPC adoption in the enterprise.

Colocation services are emerging as key enablers for organizations that want to delve into HPC capabilities. The report emphasized that HPC systems put an incredible demand on data center power systems, requiring specialized, high-density power configurations that few organizations will have in their typical data centers. Furthermore, simply providing the density of power needed by an HPC configuration is only part of the issue. Companies must also have emergency backup power setups in place, and most data centers can't meet this need. These same challenges extend to cooling, as chillers must deal with hyperscale system density when supporting HPC setups. 

Colocation facilities are often built with the power and cooling flexibility that organizations need to keep up with the demands of HPC systems, the news source explained. As colocation providers offer the advanced facility configurations organizations need to expand their hardware plans to support HPC functionality, businesses can further reduce the cost barriers associated with the technology.

While colocation and HPC technologies are a natural match when it comes to power and cooling, it is also vital to consider how colocation facilities can support the connectivity demands of an HPC setup.

Data center leasing models are making HPC systems more accessible.Data center leasing models are making HPC systems more accessible.

Using colocation to support HPC connectivity
There are two key issues that come up when trying to support the network requirements presented by HPC setups – interconnecting a large number of local machines working in conjunction with one another and getting conclusions generated by the HPC system out to end users leveraging cloud apps and services. As mentioned, the power and cooling capabilities offered by colocation providers is a natural fit with HPC solutions, and this holds true when it comes to supporting an internal network that must run at incredibly high performance levels. External connectivity, such as getting data out to various clouds that host your apps, is a more complex matter, but something that colocation providers can help with.

Cloud connectivity is a major challenge facing business, and organizations that want to empower their cloud users to access data from HPC systems may rely on those interconnects to support operations. For example, an oil and gas company using an HPC solution to quickly analyze potential reserves based on data reported from the field needs to get results out to researchers quickly. Those teams may be relying on private cloud apps you're hosting in a separate colocation facility to get the job done, and having a powerful connection between the colocation center hosting the HPC machine and the one housing your cloud is critical.

Leading colocation providers are using robust data prioritization tools alongside high-performance interconnects to change the way businesses can connect to the cloud. As a result, organizations can ensure high levels of performance for geographically distributed data center assets, allowing cloud configurations and HPC systems to share information seamlessly. As HPC technology becomes more accessible, colocation provides the functionality organizations need to keep up with power, cooling and network functionality.