Cray and Microsoft Bring HPC to Azure

Customers can run HPC, AI, and advanced analytics workloads at supercomputing scale avoiding datacenter constraints.
This is a Press Release edited by on 2017.10.31

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Cray Inc. announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp. that gives enterprises the tools to enable a new era of discovery and insight, while broadening the availability of supercomputing to new markets and new customers.

Under the partnership agreement, the to companies will jointly engage with customers to offer dedicated Cray supercomputing systems in Microsoft Azure datacenters to enable customers to run AI, advanced analytics, and modeling and simulation workloads at unprecedented scale, connected to the Azure cloud.

Cray's tightly coupled system architecture and Aries interconnect addresses the demand for compute capability, real-time insights, and scalable performance needed by enterprises. With this partnership, the two firms  have made it easier for cloud customers to harness the power of supercomputing and multiply their problem-solving potential. They will also bring these advantages to a new set of customers who were previously unable to purchase or maintain an on-premise Cray system.

The availability of Cray supercomputers in Azure empowers researchers, analysts, and scientists with the ability to train AI deep learning models in fields such as medical imaging and autonomous vehicles in a fraction of the time. Pharmaceutical and biotech scientists driving precision medicine discovery can perform whole genome sequencing, shortening the time from computation to cure. Automotive and aerospace product engineers can conduct crash simulation, computational fluid dynamic simulations, or build digital twins for rapid and precise product development and optimized maintenance. Geophysicists in energy companies can accelerate oil field analysis and reduce exploration risk through superior seismic imaging fidelity and faster reservoir characterization. All performed in days and minutes.

"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, 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."

"Using the enterprise-proven power of Microsoft Azure, customers are running their most strategic workloads in our cloud," said Jason Zander, corporate VP, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft. "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."

As part of the partnership agreement, the Cray XC and Cray CS supercomputers with attached Cray ClusterStor storage systems will be available for customer-specific provisioning in select Microsoft Azure datacenters, directly connected to the Azure network. The Cray systems integrate with Azure VMs, Azure Data Lake storage, the Microsoft AI platform, and Azure Machine Learning services. Customers can also leverage the Cray Urika-XC analytics software suite and CycleCloud for hybrid HPC management.

For more information on the Microsoft and Cray partnership: Microsoft Azure blog and Cray in Azure page