$1,279-per-hour, 30,000-core cluster built on Amazon EC2 cloud

Jon Brodkin

$1,279-per-hour, 30,000-core cluster built on Amazon EC2 cloud

Amazon EC2 and other cloud services are expanding the market for high-performance computing. Without access to a national lab or a supercomputer in your own data center, cloud computing lets businesses spin up temporary clusters at will and stop paying for them as soon as the computing needs are met.

A vendor called Cycle Computing is on a mission to demonstrate the potential of Amazon’s cloud by building increasingly large clusters on the Elastic Compute Cloud. Even with Amazon, building a cluster takes some work, but Cycle combines several technologies to ease the process and recently used them to create a 30,000-core cluster running CentOS Linux.

The cluster, announced publicly this week, was created for an unnamed “Top 5 Pharma” customer, and ran for about seven hours at the end of July at a peak cost of $1,279 per hour, including the fees to Amazon and Cycle Computing. The details are impressive: 3,809 compute instances, each with eight cores and 7GB of RAM, for a total of 30,472 cores, 26.7TB of RAM and 2PB (petabytes) of disk space. Security was ensured with HTTPS, SSH and 256-bit AES encryption, and the cluster ran across data centers in three Amazon regions in the United States and Europe. The cluster was dubbed “Nekomata.”

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