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High Performance Computing for Academic Research on Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure

HPC in the cloud, the time is right

High Performance Computing power is a key tool for making scientific discoveries and driving innovation in scientific research. It is required as a response to global challenges such as climate change and disease as we look to achieve net zero and prevent future pandemics. The high-performance datacentres available in the public cloud now mean that significant amounts of power are available to the whole market and we can say that High performance computing has been democratised. Users now have access to the world’s most powerful hardware without having to invest in a 5-year hardware cycle, instead being able to spin up resources for short term projects, obtaining fast outcomes, and then being able to exit the cloud when a project finishes. 

This opens up a lot of new opportunities for HPC in the cloud, however, the issue is that not all providers offer the good consistent performance required. With that in mind, we ask what can the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offer?

Key OCI Technologies

Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure has been built from the ground up to provide High performance Computing. Users can deploy bare metal instances that are free of any hypervisor overhead meaning predictable performance levels. With dedicated access to bare metal resources users can deploy whichever custom software stack they prefer using whichever operating systems and toolchains they feel will generate the best outcomes. Oracle Cloud provides a choice of ARM, AMD and Intel CPU’s as well as NVIDIA GPU’s for high performance workloads. HPC clusters on Oracle Cloud have low latency Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for low latency memory transfers between hosts with no CPU overhead. This is all achieved over converged Ethernet with high speed NVMe drives for file storage.

HPC Software Stack

To speed up deployment of HPC environments Oracle has added pre-configured images to their cloud marketplace such as an automated HPC cluster deployments and Oracle Linux for HPC. Oracle have also established key partnerships with leading HPC ISV’s such as YellowDog and Altair. Oracle’s commitment to open-source applications such as blender, Gromac, slurm and paraview means those solutions are tested and built on OCI, this delivers performance and feature benefits to OCI users.

Oracle Cloud powers UK academic research

The UK is one of the leading countries in the world for academic research and its institutions have been turning to the Oracle cloud platform to power the latest innovations. The University of Bristol made a COVID breakthrough by creating a high-resolution 3D VR simulation of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus on Oracle’s cloud infrastructure. This imagery improved our understanding and drove the development of anti-viral therapeutics which helped our fightback against the virus. This was all possible due to OCI’s high performance. In response to the existential threats of climate change the Royal Holloway University of London is working on drastically reducing deadly emissions by Carbon capture and sequestration, storing Carbon underground in rocks. To speed up the site selection process The Royal Holloway University of London turned to the OCI platform. They now benefit from OCI’s high performance Linux clusters and simulations run in 20 hours instead of the 47 hours offered by their existing on-prem HPC environment, that is an increase of over 50% in performance.  When Heriot-Watt University required HPC compute power for a research project for 3d modelling the movement of billions of inhaler aerosol particles in the lungs of Asthma sufferers they chose Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to start simulations that were previously impossible to run. When the research project begins they will benefit from HPC bare metal shapes, Oracle Cloud Analytics and open source tools to deliver new understandings of drug performance and gain new insights to aid the treatment of respiratory illnesses.

OCRE framework

The OCRE cloud framework in partnership with GEANT provides research institutions with access to pre-vetted commercial agreements with Cloud providers and also access to millions of pounds in potential Funding for cloud research. Quistor is the exclusive reseller and managed service provider for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure on the OCRE Framework. If you have a HPC project and are investigating your infrastructure options or are considering applying for OCRE’s research funds please reach out to start a consultation.

OCRE Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

OCRE Funding update

OCRE have now made available €6m in funds for research projects that would benefit from cloud compute power. Winning proposals must be submitted by the 7th July and there is up to €500,000 per project available. Quistor will help you write a winning proposal, please contact our UK account manager to discuss your project sbaker@quistor.com / 07804 865 230.

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