The cloud is not coming to steal your job or the jobs of your team. But then again, what is your job? Here’s a hint: it’s furthering a particular business goal, not performing a specific and unchanging set of tasks. In our experience working with HPC users and admins from a variety of industries, there’s always more work to be done. There are new ways to compute, storage challenges, workflow challenges, scaling challenges.
While our CycleCloud™ software makes simple, managed access to cloud HPC easier to provide, we’ve never seen anyone’s position get eliminated. Instead what happens is that staff are freed from mundane infrastructure labor and management tasks to do organization-specific work that adds value.
The first question people ask when a new initiative comes along is “how will this affect my job?” so there’s always some trepidation to broach the topic. But avoiding the topic does our customers a disservice. Reducing the effort necessary to provide a cloud HPC environment to users is important for two reasons.
The first is that HPC experience generally – and cloud HPC experience specifically – is a tight market. It can be hard to find and retain talented employees. We see two types of situations.
In the first case, the staff tasked with running the cloud HPC environment do not have HPC experience. They may be talented sysadmins or user support staff who have been thrown to the wolves, so to speak. They need help getting started, managing the differences (and similarities) between cloud and in-house environments, understanding what to monitor, knowing how to help users route jobs to the best resource, et cetera. These teams often use CycleCloud to enable them to leverage their existing resources – especially when they have an open position that they can’t find the right candidate for.
In other cases, an existing HPC group is looking to leverage cloud to offer more to their user base. With cloud adoption, this group can move from maintaining the hardware to assisting users optimize their workflow. For the team itself, they get to work on new projects, with new users, and enhance their skill base. CycleCloud has the features to help make that happen without being an expert in the details of a specific cloud vendor.
Now that we all agree that it’s safe to talk about reducing effort, here’s a look at some of the CylceCloud features that help various roles:
- Cloud instances automatically configured, including custom applications
- Clusters dynamically sized based on queue depth; admins don’t need to manually add or remove nodes for compute
- Easy to change instance type or use multiple instance types
- Automatic replacement of lost compute instances
- Launch-time and ongoing instance health checks
- System monitoring and alerting
- Support for GPU-enabled and traditional CPU instances
- Support for multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)
- Clusters can be pinned to an approved configuration
- CycleCloud actions are recorded in a write-once, read-many event log
- Supports using CSP security features (e.g. IAM roles, Security Groups, etc)
- Configurable role-based access control
- Active Directory or LDAP authentication
- Supports multiple CSP credentials to further separate users
- Supports restricted regions (e.g. AWS GovCloud, Azure Government Cloud)
- Per-cluster budgets and cost alerts
- Real-time cost estimates
- Flexible labeling for compute instances and storage volumes to ease cost attribution
If you’d like to learn more about how our CycleCloud software can help your organization reduce the effort required to run workflows in the cloud, contact us.