– Innovative HPC appliance offers unprecedented ease of use, helps clients manage data security risks. –

Tokyo, Japan, June 18, 2018 – HPC cloud company XTREME-D today announced a prototype version of XTREME-Stargate (trademark pending), a solution that combines Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and an HPC gateway appliance to deliver a new way to access and manage high performance cloud. The appliance will deliver an entirely new HPC cloud experience via a robust UI/UX. It also offers non-traditional billing systems that charge based on job rather than on time consumed, as is typical for SaaS or IaaS.

XTREME-D, formerly known as XTREME-Design Inc., is well-known in Japan for architecting technical computing in the cloud. The award-winning company develops and sells XTREME-DNA, a cloud-based, virtual, supercomputing-on-demand service. XTREME-DNA was launched to cut costs and make it easy to build HPC clusters in just in 10 minutes.

XTREME-Stargate HPC Gateway is a small set-top linux appliance that can easily connect to HPC cloud with basic setup over a web portal using the XTREME-DNA interface. It functions as a “super head node” for HPC cloud clusters, providing access to on-premise, private, and public cloud without integration headaches, and allowing connections to baremetal cloud (either shared or dedicated), in addition to the public cloud vendors such as Azure and AWS that have always been accessible via XTREME-DNA.

The appliance provides a revolutionary dashboard with unprecedented dynamic and intuitive UI/UX for HPC cloud. The dashboard makes it easy to select from multiple HPC clouds and determine the best resources for each use of cloud, as well as to construct dynamic programmable workflows. The interface provides users with the anticipated cost of each workflow, as well as advanced and detailed cloud usage reporting.

XTREME-Stargate removes security concerns when using public or hybrid cloud by providing secure hardware-based data management and access to two types of dedicated HPC baremetal instances at the “secure” and “secret” security levels at the data center. In today’s climate security is paramount, so all clusters are located in data centers with a security level of Tier-3 or higher. XTREME-D has dedicated data centers in the US, Japan, and Singapore.

XTREME-Stargate IaaS comes in two flavors. Shared baremetal cloud utilizes public cloud services such as Azure and AWS and is less expensive, whereas dedicated baremetal cloud runs on XTREME-D’s own datacenters, and is faster and more customizable. Although XTREME-D’s dedicated baremetal cloud is more costly than its shared option, it is considerably less expensive than similar options offered by IBM, as well as easier to use.

“With XTREME-Stargate, users always have access to the most current infrastructure and environments, featuring all major HPC hardware vendors,” said Naoki Shibata, Founder and CEO of XTREME-D. “Stargate offers support for containers as well as GPU, FPGA, NVMe, and other HPC accelerators.”

XTREME-Stargate was developed to bring more features and larger-scale functionality to XTREME-D’s larger Enterprise customers. It is suitable for longer-term use, and allows for use of both private and hybrid cloud, whereas XTREME-DNA is a product for the small- and mid-sized market, and is mainly focused on public cloud use.

XTREME-D is currently looking for early adopters who are interested in participating in a Proof of Concept (PoC) program for XTREME-Stargate during Q4 2018. To apply, please visit https://xtreme-d.net/en/2018-xtreme-stargate-poc. XTREME-Stargate will be launched at SC18, with additional product features including official support of AWS, expanded support of various additional cloud services, and templates for high performance data visualization and parallel rendering (post-processing).

Visit XTREME-D at booth J-513 at ISC 18 in Frankfurt, Germany from June 25–27 for an eyes-only sneak peak at XTREME-Stargate.

Cloud computing is a hot topic for businesses worldwide. Despite the buzz, most companies are still struggling to decide how cloud fits into their strategy, and if it does, which type of cloud service to use. It is important to understand the differences between and advantages of the various cloud services.

In a nutshell, there are three main types of cloud services:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Each one has its own advantages and is suitable for certain purposes. So, it’s important to make the right choice for your specific circumstances. Our XTREME-DNA product provides users with HPC clusters that feature the best aspects of each type of cloud service — a level of service we can call as Next-gen SaaS.

Let’s start by looking over the features of each type of cloud.

SaaS Can Be Very Useful if it Meets Your Needs
Software as a Service is perhaps the most well-known and commonly utilized type of cloud for business. SaaS vendors provide a wide variety of third-party applications, which are delivered to users directly and do not require downloads and installation.

The greatest advantage of SaaS is that SaaS vendors provide one-stop services to their users, which greatly reduces the time and cost required to configure and use more traditional system environments. On the other hand, however, SaaS offers little flexibility and thus sometimes requires users to change their business process to fit the application(s). Troubleshooting is also difficult because the application is running on a server that is managed by the SaaS vendor.

PaaS Requires Cloud Computing Skill
Platform as a Service is similar to SaaS except that it does not provide software, only a cloud platform on which users can build their own customized application environment. This set-up lets you concentrate on your applications without worrying about infrastructure, but requires you to have cloud computing skills, as your users will work on applications within the cloud. Therefore, you will need to optimize those applications to meet PaaS infrastructure requirements.

IaaS Requires Cloud Infrastructure Skill
Infrastructure as a Service provides primitive cloud resources. You can build your HPC clusters however you like, but you would need to learn about and choose the specific resources required for your job, as well as how to deploy, install, and configure them. And, you would need to know how to tune any device accessed via public cloud.

This is not an easy job, and often there are pitfalls. Therefore, building and operating an HPC cluster takes a lot of working hours, during which you’d still have to pay for your cloud subscription even though you aren’t able to run your jobs until your cluster is properly configured.

XTREME-DNA Provides HPC Clusters as Next-gen SaaS
After reviewing the specific features and functionalities of each type of cloud service, we came up with the idea of offering Next-gen-SaaS, which incorporates the best features of SaaS and IaaS — the application readiness of SaaS combined with the flexibility and control over the entire infrastructure offered by IaaS. With XTREME-DNA you will be able to have your own HPC clusters in just 10 minutes, all configured and ready to use, while having complete control over them. You can also access HPC clusters directly, which offers you the same usability as an on-premise environment.

Looking at PaaS for Future Features
Recently, one of our customers came to us with a challenge that we are working to solve. Their workloads are not tightly parallel, but are instead stateless, time flexible, and fault tolerant. We thought their workloads might be more suitable for PaaS. PaaS requires their workloads to be optimized, but provides more benefits, such as workflow automation, cost savings, and flexibility. PaaS is an ideal option when a cloud provider provides low-cost virtual machines, because XTREME-D’s products can provide the missing infrastructure, therefore saving the customer time and money.

Based on this input, we are working to incorporate PaaS features into our new gateway appliance, XTREME-Stargate. Look for updates on our XTREME-Stargate roadmap in the fall, and please consult us in the meantime if you are considering an HPC PaaS solution — we can help.

Decisions, Decisions…
We hope this article provides some insight into which type of cloud is best for you. XTREME-D provides HPC clusters that are very flexible and easy to use. Please feel free to contact us and we can discuss the best cloud type for you.

Article by Shingo OKUNO, Director and CTO

In the last post, we introduced XTREME-DNA’s two core functional capabilities. One of them was the HPC template, which helps your practical use an HPC cluster on Cloud. So, let’s dive in and talk a little bit more about HPC Templates.

The Challenges of Building an HPC Cluster in the Cloud
Today, public cloud providers provide a few resources that are optimized for HPC, in order to make it easier to build HPC clusters on the public cloud. While this is a welcome trend for HPC experts, it’s not that easy for everyone else. There are many challenges to building an HPC cluster, in most cases requiring many hours of time and much expertise.

For example, you would need to choose and learn about the specific resources required for your job, as well as how to deploy, install, and configure them. And, you would need to know how to tune any device accessed via public cloud. This is not an easy job, and often there are pitfalls.

Therefore, building and operating an HPC cluster takes a lot of working hours, during which you’d still have to pay for your cloud subscription even though you aren’t able to run your jobs until your cluster is properly configured.

HPC Templates Solve These Challenges
HPC templates provide an automated way to configure and test a cluster to ensure that it has the correct configuration for operation in about ten minutes. You’re immediately saving money, both in labor and in cloud usage fees, because every process needed for deployment is pre-configured in each template. And you’re not required to be a cluster expert — our HPC architects based these templates on their extensive experience designing and building HPC clusters.

There are two phases to consider when building an HPC cluster on a public cloud. The first phase is deploying resources. We are continually researching and redesigning HPC cluster architecture on public clouds so that it makes the most of available resources. We review network design, interconnects, storage, accelerators, and so on. These are different between each public cloud, but our HPC templates contain underlying architectures to deploy and provision clusters on Microsoft Azure, Google Public Cloud, and Amazon Web Services.

The second phase is provisioning these deployed resources. XTREME-DNA’s software consists of drivers, middleware, applications, configurations, and more. As you know, every piece of software has different versions and different dependencies. And software conflicts often cause problems with installation and usage. But with XTREME-D you don’t have to worry — our HPC templates have already resolved these problems and have been thoroughly tested.

How Were the HPC Templates Created?
HPC templates are like recipes written by HPC architects, who use their know-how and experience to construct the optimal OS, application, middleware, and setup necessary for specific execution or testing. We are preparing many componentized small recipes. These combinations make it possible to produce many useful HPC templates. And we pre-build Virtual Machine images as much as possible for most recipes in order to provide quick provisioning.

Of course, we can also create custom HPC templates for your specific needs. Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about that service.
By the way, our HPC templates are implemented with our original framework that is based on standard OSS software. We’ll talk about that some other time.

Thank you very much for reading through to the end! We are looking forward to seeing you use HPC clusters built from our HPC templates.