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.