Addressing the Cloud Cynic

 

The Greek philosopher Diogenes kept dogs that served as emblems of his cynic philosophy.

San Francisco, Calif., October 1, 2018 – I believe balance should be a welcomed philosophy for most (if not all) areas of life. Whether in business, or personal life, seeking balance can give us a deeper understanding of the true complexity of problems. Practically speaking, sometimes this means sitting down, shedding years of learning from experience, and listening closely to your strongest critic’s arguments as innocently as possible. Usually you will discover that your opponent’s view is based on a completely different context–and sometimes, when those contexts are harmonized, you have an opportunity to reach a surprising level of agreement.

At Rescale, it is not a secret that we LOVE SaaS platforms. So much so, that all of our internal business tools, whether mail, data, HR, finance, expensing, and performance reviews are all cloud-enabled platforms. There isn’t even a NAS storage device when you go to a Rescale office… we barely have a single file cabinet with physical “things.”

I feel that in this spirit of balance, I might take a moment to exercise this thinking with one of our harshest critics. So, I googled “Reasons not to use the cloud” and I came across a blog post I thought I would read, think and “harmonize the context” of the main points given, and see how they stack up against the current solution provided by Rescale.

The critics say you should not use the cloud if:

“… you need security equivalent to Pentagon’s requirement as that cannot be provided by any shared system such as cloud.”

I’m not sure about how Pentagon-level compliance is defined, but we’re certainly proud to say that Rescale is fully ITAR compliant. Looking into it a little bit more, ITAR might actually be a standard superlative to that of the “Pentagon.” There’s no doubt that security is a top priority, for any enterprise or nation, and by default it is a top priority here at Rescale as well. We are routinely audited by 3rd party security agencies to ensure that every part of the customer data lifecycle is protected. Rescale is also HIPAA certified, as well as SOC2 Type 2, CSA Attested. We’re also very close to our FedRamp High certification. Read more here: https://www.rescale.com/security/

Sadly, on-premise systems don’t have a great track record of avoiding breaches either…

“The cost of going to cloud is higher than the cost of setting up internal network. If the business requirement can be met at lesser cost using in house setup then it does not make sense to move to cloud.”

There’s good reason to be concerned about the cost of HPC in the cloud. It is a new paradigm, so it can be uncertain, tricky, and yes, sometimes expensive to build fully-robust HPC systems on the cloud. Rescale understands this, and helps you navigate a path balancing cost and your other business metrics such as time-to-answer, robustness, time-to-market, product quality, etc.

The most common approach is to evaluate Cloud A with On-Prem B in a single job, on the same CPU, and ignore the total benefits and the total costs of both. There are many subtleties that can greatly increase the value of running jobs in the cloud, and greatly reduce the billable cost footprint (such as lowered instant and on-demand pricing, deposit pricing, and abundant cloud provider credits). Also, cloud is getting cheaper every day, and there are real benefits in preparing for this transformation now.

Secondly, when you look deeper into the total cost of ownership of an on-premise solution, you discover many layers of hidden costs — all of which magically disappear with cloud:

      -Operations

      -Maintenance

      -Updates

      -Performance upgrade

      -Depreciation of the on-premise hardware

      -Energy (power and cooling) costs

      -Physical shelter

      -Physical and electronic security

      -Time to procure a new system

      -Engineer idle time while waiting in queues

      -Product quality degradation from running on old hardware

For more on this, check out our in-depth webinar on Total Cost of Ownership.

“If there are geopolitical factors that prevent hosting of data outside the country or in some specific region.”

Rescale has several platforms across the world including Americas, ITAR, Europe and Japan where compute runs and data resides in the region.

“If your applications require processing of large amount of data requiring extreme disk input/output operations and low latency.”

It’s true: Big Data workloads in the cloud have significant challenges on data ingest and data egress. On the contrary, HPC (such as computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis) workloads often don’t require moving large datasets back and forth, and they benefit substantially from running on specialized architecture.

Rescale offers an up-to-date variety of compute infrastructures that span CPU, GPU, storage systems and interconnect alternatives so that you can run exactly what you need on a per-job basis, and exactly how much you need of it. The fastest CPU (Intel Skylake), the fastest GPU (NVIDIA V100) the fastest storage (NVMe) and the fastest interconnect (Infiniband) are all available in the cloud.

This presents a choice (and opportunity!) that users with fixed on-premise infrastructures rarely face. What is the exact architecture that is optimized for your job? Does it require a high number of read/write operations, high volume and frequency of message passing, high throughput (embarrassingly parallel) or sheer clock speed? More importantly, how much more can you achieve in your work if you could run on what you need, instead of on just what you have available?

Most other criticisms of cloud in the post are variants to the above concerns: security, cost, and “will it work for my workloads.” Let us know what you think! We’d be happy to debate and “harmonize context” with you.

For more information on Rescale, visit www.rescale.com.

About Rescale

Rescale is the leader in enterprise big compute in the cloud. Rescale empowers the world’s transformative executives, IT leaders, engineers, and scientists to securely manage product innovation to be first to market. Rescale’s ScaleX® multi-cloud platform, built on the most powerful high-performance computing infrastructure, seamlessly matches software applications with the best architecture in the cloud or on-premise to run complex data processing and simulations. Rescale partners with the four largest cloud service providers, has over 125 Global 2000 enterprise customers including four of top five largest global automotive manufacturers and two of top three largest global aerospace and defense companies. For more information on Rescale, visit www.rescale.com.

This article was written by Robert Combier.