Microsoft brings Cray supercomputers to Azure

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Microsoft has announced an exclusive strategic alliance with global supercomputer leader Cray, to provide dedicated Cray supercomputing systems (Cray XC and Cray CS) in its Azure datacenters. It will enable customers to run AI, HPC, advanced analytics, and modeling and simulation workloads seamlessly on Azure cloud.

Cray’s Aries interconnect and its tightly coupled system architecture addresses the ever-increasing demands for real-time insights, compute capability, and scalable performance by the modern enterprises. With the new partnership, cloud customers can now harness power of supercomputing and artificial intelligence in an agile and cost-effective way.

The Cray systems will integrate with Azure VMs, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Machine Learning Services, as well as Microsoft AI platform to offer better workflows, collaboration, performance, scalability, and elasticity to customers.

“Using the enterprise-proven power of Microsoft Azure, customers are running their most strategic workloads in our cloud,” said Jason Zander, corporate vice president, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Corp. “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.”

With Cray supercomputers in Azure, the researchers, scientists, and analysts will be empowered with the capability of training AI deep learning models in fields of medicine and autonomous vehicles. The pharmaceutical and biotech scientists can now perform whole genome sequencing reducing time from computation to cure.

Geophysicists can speed up oil field analysis with reduced exploration risks through better seismic imaging fidelity. Aerospace and automotive engineers can now perform crash simulation, and computational fluid dynamic simulations, create digital twins for quick and proper maintenance and product development. The tasks that used to take weeks and months till now, will now be done within minutes and days.

“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,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “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 supercomputing capabilities in cloud can transform businesses and bring innovation in the coming years. Microsoft has been continuously investing in this field for last several years, and had acquired Cycle Computing for better hybrid HPC deployments.

Also read: Azure advancements remove cloud adoption barriers, going hybrid made easier

The Cray XC and Cray CS supercomputers with attached Cray ClusterStor storage systems will be directly connected to Microsoft Azure network, and will be available for customer-specific provisioning in Microsoft Azure datacenters. Customers can also leverage the Cray Urika-XC analytics software suite and CycleCloud for hybrid HPC management.

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