In this article you will read:
- Which topics predominated at the high performance computing (HPC) trade shows Teratec Forum and ISC,
- Why demand for European HPC cloud offerings in particular seems to be increasingly strong, and
- Which HPC application scenarios are especially in demand with companies right now.
More and more companies are showing interest in the opportunity to book extremely powerful computing and storage capacities from the public cloud when required. That was demonstrated at the trade fairs Teratec Forum near Paris and the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt am Main. “In France especially, we as European cloud providers met with keen interest,” said Max Guhl, Solution Sales, Open Telekom Cloud, who was there for T-Systems. “For one, many attendees had a general interest in high performance computing from the cloud, and many French company representatives were positively surprised to learn that in Europe there is a genuine alternative to the U.S. hyperscalers: the Open Telekom Cloud.”
Cloud Act Fuels Demand for a European HPC Cloud Solution
Around 70 exhibitors and 1,300 visitors traveled to the small French town of Palaiseau for the Teratec Forum trade show, held in mid-June. “The reason for the keen French interest in an HPC cloud alternative from a European provider is the still uncertain legal situation in the United States,” said Alfred Geiger, Head of Scientific Computing at T-Systems. “By the terms of the Cloud Act, U.S. cloud providers must hand over personal data to the U.S. investigating authorities if called upon to do so. That, however, is a breach of the EU’s GDPR, which is a risk European companies are not prepared to take.”
Focus Shifts from Hosting to the Public Cloud
The paradigm shift was also very much in evidence at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), held in Frankfurt am Main only a few days after the Teratec Forum in France. “As a longstanding ISC exhibitor we noticed that the business focus is shifting,” said Alfred Geiger. Firms showed a special interest in so-called cloud-bursting scenarios, in which the public cloud serves as a buffer for load peaks. “Where outsourcing used to predominate, HPC from the public cloud has come to the fore over the past two to three years. That has an influence on usage. The focus in supercomputing used to be on areas such as reactor physics. Today interest in HPC solutions is apparent across industries such as banks, insurance, automotive, and healthcare.“
Democratization of HPC
One conclusion to be drawn from the two supercomputing events is, therefore, that high performance computing from the public cloud has emerged from its niche, has arrived in the mainstream and has long ceased to be of importance only for data-intensive research projects. One reason for that is its spontaneous scalability. High performance computing resources are available on demand from the cloud. Companies pay only for as long as they need the resources, and that makes them affordable for small firms too. Everyone has needs-based access to a supercomputer from the cloud.
HPC Scenarios: Research, PLM, and Autonomous Driving
To illustrate the potential of high performance computing from the public cloud T-Systems showed three practice based examples based on the Open Telekom Cloud infrastructure at the ISC. They were the Helix Nebula, a tried and trusted science cloud used for research purposes, the PLM Cloud, designed for engineering tasks, and a reference architecture for autonomous driving. T-Systems partners Xelera and Xilinx shed light on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) – hardware cards that can be used to speed up applications in the cloud.
European Data Storage is Key
Alfred Geiger and Max Guhl are very satisfied with the course of the two trade shows. “Both the Teratec Forum and the ISC provided us with an opportunity to show that we with our Open Telekom Cloud are very well positioned in the race with our hyperscaler competitors. Data storage and data protection in Germany and the link between the public cloud and the HLRS supercomputing data center in Stuttgart are unique selling propositions with which we can score points all over Europe.”
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