In the not-so-distant past, high performance computing (HPC) technology was limited to the world of large research institutions, governments, and massive enterprise conglomerates. That is no longer the case. Today, HPC capabilities are more mainstream and serve a crucial role in variety of sectors, from aerospace to meteorology, to pharma and oil and gas.
What happens next? Does HPC make its way to small businesses and startups? Will such capabilities become the status quo in new industries, like consumer-packaged goods, with complex supply chains? Three HPC experts share their take:
1: Hybrid HPC solutions will be more accessible than ever
Historically, HPC resources needed to be rented or scheduled through a dedicated HPC environment. Few organizations outside of academia and national research labs had the capabilities to do this. However, HPC technologies are becoming more prevalent within commercial enterprise data centers, explains Brett Goodwin, VP of marketing at digital asset storage company Qumulo.
“Organizations and institutions can now scale out HPC resources on-premises as needed,” says Goodwin. “At the same time, cloud providers, infrastructure as a service and platform as a service providers are beginning to offer more turn-key HPC solution environments tailored to very specific workload needs such as those required for the life sciences sector.”
Technology teams can now craft an ideal balance between cloud-based and on-premise solutions. New efficiencies will arise as a result.
“As providers become more aware of the issues surrounding HPC requirements, such as security and privacy concerns, as is true with precision medicine, options available to deploy HPC resources off-prem will continue to grow,” says Goodwin. “[This], in turn, will drive quicker adoption of new HPC technologies at ever lower costs.”
2: HPC needs will enter new sectors
When it comes to the future of technology, the outlook has never been less clear. Many industries still have catching up to do – especially those that don’t have their roots in technology. Soon banks and the media industry will come into play as the need for higher processing speeds becomes a make-or-break issue in the ever-evolving customer service paradigm.
“Banks and investment companies will be quick to jump on this trend because of the high speeds and differences in currency and interest rates,” says Reuben Yonatan, founder at cloud communication advisory firm GetVOIP. “Movie studios are also going to need major computing power to make super heroes blow things up, because audiences love bigger action movies.”
Very soon, there will be a surge in demand from organizations that need tools and technology to jump start their businesses and get to work. Emerging markets will need to upgrade their infrastructures too. This uptick will be beneficial for providers and consultants in the HPC space.
“The biggest winners may turn out to be the companies that actually make the infrastructure – both hardware and middleware (the software that connects the OS to the hardware) – like Cisco, Microsoft, Red Hat, Lenovo/IBM, and Brocade,” says Yonatan.
3: Market diversification will be the new standard
One of the biggest challenges of HPC is the sector’s vast array of opportunities, that being the diversification of solutions and technologies. As HPC becomes more accessible and mainstream, new vendors will continue to arise. The flip side of having more options? Interoperability will become a major challenge and consideration for companies looking to upgrade their technologies with zero hiccups.
“The opportunity and the challenge in HPC will be adopting the [right] applications to run on the architectures that are evolving very quickly from different manufacturers,” says Shannon Vanlandingham, operations director at Cisco. “As companies like Intel, Mellanox, and Cray continue to develop the hardware to support massively parallel architectures, the applications and codes that are to run on these architectures tend to lag behind.”
Certain projects will require more resources than others. With varying necessities, new solutions will continue to emerge.
“I think the future of HPC lies in the adoption of capacity computing,” says Vanlandingham. “[This will] help solve mainstream problems quickly and cost-effectively that are compute intensive.”
“It will continue to grow out of research and academia but become more pervasive in financial services, oil and gas, and manufacturing and [will] be consumed as a service,” Vanlandingham concluded. “Most organizations don't have the resources or budget to develop HPC capabilities in their IT organizations, but could benefit from these architectures. I believe that aspects of HPC will move to the cloud and is not immune to this technology trend.”
Ritika Puri is a contributi g author