SGI Offers Cyclone Cloud Computing for HPC

SGI is bringing its high-end technical computing capabilities to the cloud with its new Cyclone environment, which runs on its Intel-based Altix systems. Businesses can either run their own application in the cloud environment or access the technical applications hosted on the systems. SGI says Cyclone complements the traditional and modular data center products it already offers.

SGI is taking its technical computing expertise to the cloud.

SGI is rolling out Cyclone, its cloud computing environment for the HPC (high-performance computing) market, which officials called an extension of what the company has been offering in traditional and modular data center settings.

"This is our entrance into the cloud computing space," Geoffrey Noer, senior director of product marketing at SGI, said in an interview.

Most cloud computing offerings from top tech vendors are aimed at business applications, such as CRM, ERP, e-mail and databases, Noer said. SGI is keeping its sights set on the HPC space, with support for such technical applications as openFOAM for computational fluid dynamics tasks, LS-Dyna for finite element analysis, Gaussian for computational chemistry and materials, BLAST and FASTA for computational biology workloads, and OntoStudio for ontology computations.

Cyclone will give customers that need more computing power for their applications the ability to leverage SGI's computing capabilities, Noer said. In addition, it will enable organizations that in the past may not have had access to such computing power that ability to run their high-end technical applications.

Rackable Systems last year bought SGI, which was a longtime high-end systems maker, and adopted the SGI name. The company now is leveraging the powerful computing capability that SGI brought into the fold to create Cyclone, Noer said.

The cloud computing environment will be powered by Altix scale-up and scale-out clusters, as well as Altix XE hybrid systems, all powered by Intel's Xeon or Itanium processors. High-speed networking comes from InfiniBand technologies or SGI's NUMALink offering.

The hybrid clusters offer either Nvidia's Tesla GPUs or graphics capabilities from Advanced Micro Devices' Firestream technology to help accelerate floating point double precision workloads.

In addition, the hybrid clusters will offer accelerators from Tilera for integer workloads.

Customers also can access SGI's InfiniteStorage products for either short-term or long-term storage needs, Noer said.

They also can choose from Novell's SUSE or Red Hat Linux operating systems, both of which will see performance benefits with the inclusion of SGI's ProPack technology. Scheduling and management of the clusters comes through Altair PBS Professional and SGI's Isle Cluster Manager offerings.

Organizations will be able to use Cyclone in two ways: in a SAAS (software as a service) mode, where they can gain access to applications; or in an IAAS (infrastructure as a service) model, where they can run their own applications on Cyclone's systems.

Support is available through SGI Global Services.

Access to Cyclone is available immediately, with pricing starting at 95 cents per HPC core hour, and 20 cents per Gigabyte per month for storage.