Lenovo has introduced a scalable, private cloud purchasing option for high-performance computing solutions.
Managed and supported either by Lenovo itself or its partners, Lenovo TruScale High Performance Computing as-a-Service (HPCaaS) is the first pay-per-use, on-premises offering of its kind built specifically for scientists, engineers, and other users of HPC hardware, according to Scott Tease, Lenovo’s vice president and general manager of high-performance computing.
“We’ve tried to design it in a fashion that tackles the problems that we think are the biggest that our HPC users face,” he says. Unlike many other users of as-a-service solutions, Tease notes, those problems generally don’t include overpaying for unused capacity.
“We typically see our HPC customers running at about 90%-plus utilization, truly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” he says. “When they look at these as-a-service offerings that are out in the marketplace, it’s really hard for them to see how this could make sense for them, because they’re all designed to look at the savings you get during low utilization times.”
Lenovo expects HPC users to find TruScale HPCaaS appealing for different reasons, including the ability to have more capacity than they currently need in place and ready for immediate use without paying for that capacity in advance. Purchasing and deploying traditional HPC systems, by contrast, often takes months.
“It’ll give them a much faster way to get new processing capability into production,” Tease says. That, in turn, will enable HPC end users to act on new market opportunities and launch new projects faster, according to Patrick Moakley, director of marketing for HPC and artificial intelligence at Lenovo.
“It allows them to be much, much more nimble, and much more responsive, and more competitive,” he says.
Public cloud HPC solutions offer flexible capacity too, Tease adds, but often provide far slower performance than onsite offerings like Lenovo’s.
“Many of these jobs are very, very data intensive,” he says. Uploading HPC data to public clouds can be a lengthy process as well, Tease continues, and retrieving data from public clouds often entails paying steep egress charges.
“Moving the data out is costly and time consuming, and moving it back is even worse,” he says.
Rather than go all-in on HPCaaS, Lenovo expects most HPC customers to use a combination of traditional hardware for some projects, as-a-service infrastructure for other, high-growth use cases, and public cloud resources for short-term capacity spikes and specialized functionality.
“My vision is that this new TruScale for HPC becomes one of several tiers in the way that our customers purchase and run their HPC gear,” Tease says.
Partners with specialized offerings in areas like computer-aided engineering, he continues, can use TruScale HPCaaS as the hardware portion of a complete solution. “They’re going to be able to take that unique IP and the services that go with it and write that as part of the TruScale contract.”
Moreover, Tease continues, Lenovo pays partners the services portion of TruScale contracts in advance. “They’re going to see the full revenue [upfront], just like they were doing a CAPEX sale. That’s not the way this works with a lot of the other offerings that are on the market.”