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How the Azure Cloud Uses Cray Supercomputers

We don’t often think of supercomputers and cloud computing as complementary to one another, but a new partnership between Microsoft and Cray is bucking this trend by adding the latest line of Cray supercomputers to Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. While their primarily focused on the niche of high-performance computing (HP), officials with Microsoft are optimistic that the new deal will help solidify their spot as the leader in cloud computing.

Different, But the Same

Cray’s supercomputers won’t have the same amount of availability as the traditional servers found in Azure’s data centers. Instead of letting customers use this hardware for collaborative reasons, Cray’s supercomputers are reserved for applications that require top-of-the-line hardware and ultra-high processing power.

Peter Ungaro, CEO and president with Cray, spoke about the new collaboration by saying: “Our partnership with Microsoft will introduce Cray supercomputers to a whole new class of customers that need the most advanced computing resources to expand their problem-solving capabilities, but want this new capability available to them in the cloud.”

It’s a very customer-centric move that has the potential to provide Azure users with more capabilities than ever before. The costs associated with purchasing and maintaining Cray’s supercomputers are quite significant, even for the largest and most successful of enterprises, so this will facilitate access to businesses and organizations that wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of such tremendous computing power on their own.

He continued his statement by touting the functionality of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: “Dedicated Cray supercomputers in Azure not only give customers all of the breadth of features and services from the leader in enterprise cloud, but also the advantages of running a wide array of workloads on a true supercomputer, the ability to scale applications to unprecedented levels, and the performance and capabilities previously only found in the largest on-premise supercomputing centers. The Cray and Microsoft partnership is expanding the accessibility of Cray supercomputers and gives customers the cloud-based supercomputing capabilities they need to increase their competitive advantage.”

The Selection Process

Microsoft and Cray aren’t planning to incorporate every single one of Cray’s supercomputers in their infrastructure. First, they’ll focus on the XC and CS – two of Cray’s most popular and powerful models – and the ClusterStor data storage platform.

Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure, echoed Cray’s sentiments by saying: “Using the enterprise-proven power of Microsoft Azure, customers are running their most strategic workloads in our cloud. By working with Cray to provide dedicated supercomputers in Azure, we are offering customers uncompromising performance and scalability that enables a host of new previously unimaginable scenarios in the public cloud. More importantly, we’re moving customers into a new era by empowering them to use HPC and AI to drive breakthrough advances in science, engineering and health.”

If you’re interested in finding out more information about Microsoft Azure, including details on any of the 600+ web-based services offered via the platform, please visit their official website at {{|}}.


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