Your business has the talent, expertise and potential to achieve great results and your IT infrastructure’s computing power should never limit that. To grow your business beyond the ordinary and to instead drive innovation to new levels, you can’t rely on traditional data center infrastructure. High Performance computing (HPC) systems are being deployed across many areas of business at companies across the globe to handle demanding workloads, provide big data and analytics solutions, and maximize business growth.

Although many still think they’re only useful for research or academia, High Performance computing (HPC) solutions can be purpose built and optimized for your business needs. They can help to accelerate innovation, whether it’s precisely modeling a new drug, driving simulations to improve manufacturing, improving the efficiency and success rate of explorations, achieving greater manufacturing efficiency, or gaining new insights into IoT data. This best-practice guide will help you evaluate and consider the best approach to adopt HPC for your business needs as well as the solution components to be considered in its implementation.

High Performance computing (HPC) Cluster Solution Considerations

Compared with other IT solutions, HPC offers increased workload capability, accessibility and availability to a variety of users within your organization. These feature sets can be game changers in terms of performance. The HPC services you choose to implement support a flexible range of compute workloads from shared HPC clusters to fully virtualized environments. Whereas older HPC solutions were considered rigid in their use cases addressing only a singular issue, choosing a modern HPC solution should provide flexibility to process business, scientific, and technical workloads with ease.

Extreme Workload Capability and Flexibility

A growing number of businesses rely on HPC clusters from initial-stage research to large-scale analyses and other business processes. This enables innovators to conduct highly complex analytics more efficiently with greater accuracy and deeper understanding. Across all business environments, scientific, manufacturing, and engineering problems are being driven by computer simulations. These include: seismic simulations, computational fluid dynamics, materials science, drug trial data analysis, population health predictions, energy, and weather modeling.

These simulations require increasingly complex models, which drive unique workload demands that traditional computing infrastructure can’t handle. To meet these needs, evaluate HPC solutions and infrastructure that provide advanced workload-optimized capabilities so they can accelerate innovation while remaining cost-effective. Whereas most HPC solutions are built to tackle demanding data-intensive applications, look for a flexible HPC solution that adopts a building-block approach for infrastructure deployment. Boosting your business’ compute capabilities, expanding its storage capacity, and accelerating results should be as simple as adding nodes to an existing chassis.

Reliability and Efficiency

In innovation-driven business scenarios with large groups of users relying on your infrastructure, it’s critical to ensure the highest levels of reliability and uptime. According to Industry analyst firm, Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC), and its latest Global Server Hardware Reliability Report, 98% of organizations say that a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000; 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000 and a record one-third or 33% of enterprises report that one hour of downtime costs their firms $1 million to over $5 million. Choose an HPC solution that offers predictive failure, self-analysis, and diagnostic capabilities that not only ensures easy serviceability and supports uptime to the fullest, but doesn’t end up as added cost.

However, reliability and continuous operation shouldn’t force you to compromise on efficiency. Look for energy-saving features that enable advanced cooling and temperature monitoring functions. For example, some HPC providers offer specialized technology for infrastructure that needs to operate in extreme environments.

Advanced Security

Sophisticated security threats require a holistic security strategy and solution that protects HPC system users, connected components, network interconnect, and the large volumes of data that pass through them. With security always a top priority, consider HPC solutions with a built-in set of security features and practices to protect your business from the software down to the hardware and firmware components.

Additionally, your HPC security solution needs to scale to encrypt large numbers of storage volumes, and be powerful enough to securely decrypt data on access. Some clustering technology includes health-check services built in that monitor your HPC and data center environments non-stop. Evaluate HPC partners based on their knowledge of and compliance to security standards and regulations around data collection and storage, and user safety.

Scalable Data Storage

One of the key technology areas to consider for HPC storage expansion is energy efficiency. The better your cluster is at managing power requirements and heat dissipation, the denser your system storage can become. Extreme density results in large volumes of data placed closer to the compute nodes that need them, which improves performance and scale. Also consider the types of storage supported as requirements may vary depending on OS, application, and database software your business needs to run.

A building block approach to storage expansion with a built-in data migration strategy is often the best approach for HPC system success. Choose a provider that understands and can support your specific storage requirements today, and into the future.

Optimized Bandwidth and Communication Fabric

HPC systems require high bandwidth, high speed communication fabric to move massive amounts of data. Whereas some HPC applications require access to large data volumes for deep analysis, other applications utilize highly parallel processes. Examples include modeling and simulations, where communication and coordination across large numbers of GPU nodes improves scale. To accommodate this type of processing, your HPC cluster solution should be selected on the basis of network or interconnect, memory, and processor speed for a given application set.

Maximizing Scalable HPC Infrastructure

Only HPC solutions with powerful servers, storage, and management capabilities with the latest processors and fabric are equipped to handle data-intensive workloads and drive innovation faster. Having a solution with market leading network and storage components capable of handling the vast amounts of data your business is generating or using increases your business capacity for accurate analytics. A full-stack, market-ready HPC solution fine-tuned to your industry’s emerging requirements will give you that competitive edge.

You should be able to start as small as you need, while taking a building-block approach to HPC that combines storage and compute. Properly scalable HPC infrastructure solutions combine hardware, software, and bandwidth with a powerful distributed management solution to keep it simple. Some supported technologies to look for include elastic storage management and Intel Cluster Ready solutions.

Future Proof your Infrastructure and Business with HPC

Business professionals, researchers, and data analysts are constantly collecting data and chasing results, providing responses and direction along the way. A challenge in one area can have a compound effect across your organization, as data center infrastructure is a shared resource. For companies managing these activities, finding the right HPC resources in terms of technology and expertise is rapidly becoming more important, to maintain their edge in innovation and against competition.

An HPC system should be chosen for its ability to accommodate the wide range of workloads from various business units across the organization, its overall reliability, its ability to integrate with systems and data already on hand, and quick implementation time. The end result is an advanced solution ready for both research and business demands with power for today and tomorrow’s needs, all within budget.

Additionally, the right solution provider is one that adopts a comprehensive approach, enabling you to choose when, where, and how to integrate new HPC capabilities to extend or replace what you have now. Having the right HPC tools with the aforementioned features can meet the demands of your mounting workloads today and in the future.

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