High-performance computing as a service (HPCaaS) is the provision of high-level processing capacity to customers through the cloud.
HPCaaS provides the resources required to process complex calculations, working with massive amounts of data through existing platforms. The model makes compute-intensive processing possible for those without the investment capital required for the skilled staff, hardware and development of a high-performance computing platform. The same workloads for scientific computing and big data analysis that are run on local high-performance computing (HPC) systems can be run on HPCaaS.
IBM is one example of a HPCaaS provider. IBM developed an award-winning prototype framework that transforms the Blue Gene/P system into an elastic cloud to run a representative high-performance computing application. This framework transforms the IBM Blue Gene/P into an elastic cloud of multiple joined clouds supporting dynamic provisioning, efficient utilization and maximum accessibility of HPC resources. IBM now offers this application as Spectrum HPCaaS. Other HPCaaS providers include Amazon, Azure, Penguin Computing on Demand and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Due to the low investment costs, HPCaaS is becoming an alternative to on-premise clusters for HPC. HPCaaS offers ease of deployment, scalability and predictability of costs, using an established service. Creating high performance compute capacity in-house, on the other hand, can be a long process, requiring highly specialized and in-demand workers. In-house HPC development is also prone to unexpected costs.