We have previously touched on the idea of purchasing cycles of compute time from a service provider as a way for small or mid size businesses to do simulations or data analysis without investing in infrastructure. This is also a useful model for large companies who need a way to manage peak flow, or even as a "try before you buy" model to prove out ROI. There is a review article in the works comparing/contrasting the different service providers to help you better make decisions. Almost all of these vendors provide raw compute cycles, you have to provide the software and the expert domain knowledge. Yesterday here at SC08 I had the chance to meet and talk with a company who is taking a slightly different approach. Cycle Computing is not just selling raw compute cycles, they are selling HPC software runs as a service. They work with ISVs, purchase appropriate software licenses and make sure the software runs on the hardware. All you have to do is supply data through the secured pipe and receive results. Application interfaces can current be SSH, a RESTful web interface, or even a VPN into your business network.
They have been successful with this model in the financial and pharmaceutical verticals and are looking to expand into other areas of manufacturing. What are the implications of this for your manufacturing businesses? HPC results without the HPC headaches. No hardware to purchase, install, configure and administer. No software license purchases, management or renewals. No long term contracts for software services you only use twice a year-- pay only for the compute cycles you actually use. What will it take to make this a winner? If the services,speed and price are right, this could be a huge win for many businesses. And at this point in time, you have the ability to help shape the service into something that works for you. Cycle computing is looking for feedback on what software packages you would make the best use of. I say this is your time to give them feedback on all points of the service. What is your price point requirement? (I do not think that Free is an option at this point....) What are the technical requirements/security considerations that would make or break this as you try to sell it to your management? You can comment below and let them know what your dream HPC software service would look like.