Friday, 21 February 2020

Why cloud computing is like air travel

Some fun observations comparing the worlds of cloud computing and air travel ...

Why cloud computing is like air travel

  • The price depends on how far in advance you commit/buy.
  • The marketing focus on the desirability of the posher seats / more powerful VMs but on the costs of the cheapest seats / VMs.
  • Just like there are three main alliances (Oneworld, Star Alliance, SkyTeam) plus various independents airlines, there are three main cloud providers (Microsoft Azure, Google, Amazon) plus various specialist cloud providers.

Monday, 13 January 2020

A step into the future: HPC and cloud

I am delighted to announce that at the start of February, I will be joining the Microsoft Azure HPC engineering & product team.

The HPC world has experienced several big changes in technology or business model over the last few decades. Cloud computing is probably the next big change facing HPC, on both business model and technology fronts.

I have been privileged to have earned a reputation with a wide range of HPC buyers and technology vendors as an impartial and knowledgeable voice on both the business and technical aspects of HPC (including cloud) over the last few years. A major trend that I observed was the pace at which I had to keep updating my independent assessment of the readiness and value of cloud. Today, on-premises HPC is still a great option to deliver impact and value to users. However, I have watched the amazing journey of cloud towards a genuine option delivering new or better value to HPC users and buyers.

In particular, I have been impressed with the approach taken by Microsoft Azure towards the HPC space. This includes strong technology and product offerings, a sector-leading people strategy, and much more. Of course, the journey towards leadership of cloud for HPC is still in progress and I am excited to help drive that adventure by joining the Azure HPC team.

More details of our vision, and my own role, will be shared over the coming days and months. Follow me on Twitter (@hpcnotes) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/andrewjones) to learn more.




Friday, 10 January 2020

Over a decade of HPC consulting success at NAG

From small beginnings ...


It is almost 12 years since I joined NAG to build and lead the HPC consulting and services business. Over that time, we have built a consulting business from a tiny start to its current thriving status. We have helped a wide range of customers around the world of High-Performance Computing (HPC) and related areas such as cloud computing and machine learning by providing training and tutorials, multi-year professional services contracts, benchmarking services, focused consulting projects, impartial procurement expertise, strategic and technical advice, and more.

Protecting our customers' confidentiality and competitive advantages has been a strong theme of our success, which is why we have rarely been able to name our customers. We have helped most of the big oil & gas companies, plus several smaller ones, aerospace companies, manufacturing companies, automotive companies, public supercomputer centres, universities, government organisations, sports entities, HPC and cloud vendors, entertainment industry, and others.

The trusted position we have earned in the HPC community is arguably unique and will be difficult to replicate. There are very few other organisations worldwide who can genuinely offer the expertise, experience, impartiality and integrity that NAG delivers.

HPC requires expertise - technical and business


HPC, whether traditional simulation, or using on-premises supercomputers, or combined machine learning and simulation, or in the cloud, is hard. Creating a robust and compelling business case for investment is not easy. Reducing the risk of decisions in strategic direction, technology selection, staffing, software development, is not easy. Finding skilled HPC programmers is not easy. Delivering cost-effective and high-impact HPC services (rather than just standing up a machine) is not easy.

The current era of technology diversity in the HPC world is good for innovation and competitiveness. HPC buyers and users clearly benefit from this with better capabilities and pricing, but they must also manage the uncertainty and risk that the increased decision spaces create. Which CPU? On-premises vs cloud? Which cloud solution? Which system architecture? Which business model?

Over the last decade, we have helped customers and friends solve these challenges. The range of issues and number of customers impacted continue to grow.

I'm pleased to say that NAG has a bright future ahead with the new CEO, the healthy market opportunities, and the strong vision progressing with the Executive Team. NAG will continue to be a rare source of proven expertise in HPC.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

hpcnotes at SC19

I will be in Denver next week for SC19.

As usual, NAG will have a booth (#932) in the exhibition. The booth will have information and handouts on our HPC consulting services (I believe the marketing strapline is "The leading independent and international center-of-excellence in the business and technical aspects of HPC"). The NAG staff on the booth will be happy to discuss our consulting work or software tools.

However, I expect to spend no more than a few minutes near the NAG booth during the whole week. So, where can you find me and what will I be doing?

Each year I have to balance four personalities at SC:

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Supercomputers and Jet Engines

We all know that supercomputers are used to design jet engines. Designing and understanding the performance characteristics of a jet engine would likely take millions of core-hours on large HPC systems.

But, a random fact thrown out over lunch at May's industry HPC leaders group meeting sparked an interesting conversation.

If a jet engine takes many megawatt-hours of supercomputing to design - how many MW does a jet engine create, and thus how many petaflops could a jet engine support if it were the power source?

The HPC leaders of GE, Boeing, ExxonMobil and others drew together their shared knowledge of aerospace and HPC - and some use of google search - to built a fun picture.

Friday, 8 November 2019

SC19 Tutorials

At SC19, I will be again be leading a full day of tutorial on the business aspects of HPC: "Delivering HPC: Procurement, Cost Models, Metrics, Value, and More".



My co-presenters for SC19 will be Ingrid Barcena Roig, Branden Moore, Dairsie Latimer, and Sierra Koehler.

The tutorials is on Monday 18th November, in room 210-212 of the Denver convention center, 8:30am - 5.00pm.






Please join us to learn more about how to get investment in HPC, how to spend it wisely, and how to measure the impact.



Guide to announcements for SC19


(Originally published on my LinkedIn profile: post link)

It's that time of year - yes, the annual fest of press releases and social media deluges in the run up to 'SC'  - the primary annual supercomputing conference, held this year in Denver.


Here is a handy guide for vendor PR teams ...

[company] will be at #SC19!
Yes, along with almost everyone else in #HPC world

[company] will be highlighting products at SC19!
As above

[company] will launch new version of our current product in a slightly different shade of grey at SC19!
We had no actual news


However, the HPC centers are just as bad with "news" for the big annual #Supercomputing conference:

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

SC18 preview

I've written my customary preview of SC, which is now published at HPC Wire: https://www.hpcwire.com/2018/11/06/sc18-preview-big-in-dallas/.

Over 10,000 members of the global HPC community will gather in Dallas for the SC18 conference. Even a decent sized team will struggle to attend everything the official program has to offer. On top of this, there will be a plethora of public and private meetings outside the official program, many of which are more valuable than the official program. Plus, there will be the usual flood of press releases, social media blasts, etc.

Out of all of this, what will emerge as the key themes? What are some essential things to do/attend? Read the @hpcnotes SC18 preview to find out!


Tuesday, 6 November 2018

SC18 Networking Receptions

Networking Receptions at SC18 Dallas [updated regularly until SC starts]


A huge part of the SC conference (or any HPC conference) is meeting people - from old friends to new contacts. Here is a curated list of networking opportunities (receptions) crowd-sourced from this twitter thread https://twitter.com/hpcnotes/status/1059437643837161474 and other sources:

Sunday 11th
Monday 12th
Tuesday 13th

Wednesday 14th

Tweet me @hpcnotes using hashtag #SC18 to add your reception to this list!







Monday, 5 November 2018

SC18 Tutorials

At SC18, I will be leading two tutorials, along with my long-time co-presenter Owen Thomas and new co-presenter for SC18, Ingrid Barcena Roig.


Both tutorials are on Monday 12th November, in room C140 of the Dallas convention center.







Please join us to learn more about how to get investment in HPC, how to spend it wisely, and how to measure the impact.



Saturday, 23 June 2018

A useful reading list for travelling to ISC18

Travelling to Frankfurt for ISC? Need to feed your HPC thirst while on planes, trains, or in hotel rooms? Here is my pick of things to download and read so that you are fully informed when you start ISC:

See you in Frankfurt!

Andrew / @hpcnotes