Fujitsu has confirmed that it will open access to the same system architecture that underpins the global supercomputer, “Fugaku”, through an emerging cloud service.
The new Fujitsu Computing-as-a-Service (CaaS) portfolio will also provide footholds for users wishing to explore quantum simulation resources and services for AI and machine learning.
First out of the starting gate is Fujitsu Cloud Service HPC, for which the company is taking advance orders starting today, with availability expected in October.
Fujitsu said it will start serving the Japanese market first, with a global rollout in international regions such as Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
This will be followed by services offering access to Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer technology, which uses the process of quantum annealing to find the optimal solution to complex problems, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning services.
Fujitsu Cloud Service HPC includes the computing power of the Fujitsu PRIMEHPC FX1000, based on the same A64FX 64-bit Arm chip used in the Fugaku supercomputer, which still holds the world’s fastest crown, according to the TOP500 list.
Each PRIMEHPC FX1000 node is built around a single 48-core A64FX chip with 32 GB of HBM2 memory stacked directly on the chip for a claimed memory bandwidth of 1024 GB/s. PRIMEHPC FX1000 supports up to 384 nodes per rack, interconnected by Fujitsu’s own high-speed Tofu D fabric.
According to Fujitsu, the HPC service will include support and a suite of software and libraries to help customers deploy HPC applications. It will also offer performance tuning and application analysis services to help customers who focus on research and analysis.
Compute node, connection node, task scheduler, storage and HPC application software will all be configured in advance, which means that users do not have to create their own HPC environment and only have to prepare the data for their analysis, Fujitsu said. Users will only pay for the resources they need.
How subscribers will use the Fujitsu Cloud HPC service will be through a monthly “HPC budget” from which compute resources will be consumed on a pay-as-you-go basis, Fujitsu said.
Fujitsu told us that there will initially be three pricing plans for the HPC budget needed to use HPC nodes, depending on conditions such as storage capacity surrounding usage. These are ¥50,000 per month (about $400), ¥500,000 per month (about $4,000), and ¥1 million per month (about $8,000). These are prices for the initial service in Japan.
It seems that Fujitsu wants to support customers without prior HPC knowledge or experience to help them benefit from its cloud service through professional operational and technical support, as well as the development of HPC usage plans tailored to a company’s business plans. individual customer.
Fujitsu also said it is aiming for a high level of compatibility between Fujitsu Cloud Service HPC and its Fugaku supercomputer to simplify the transfer of search results generated on Fugaku to CaaS services to accelerate practical applications. Conversely, Fujitsu also envisions that users planning large-scale analysis and research projects can migrate their applications to Fugaku if necessary.
It’s a capability that scientists at Japan’s RIKEN research institute are working with Fujitsu to achieve, according to the director of its Center for Computational Science, Satoshi Matsuoka.
“We are working with Fujitsu to make its CaaS highly compatible with Fugaku to meet these requirements, and we expect CaaS to become an important service to quickly connect R&D on Fugaku to industrial use and practical implementation in society,” he said in a statement.
“Going forward, we will work with Fujitsu to enhance Fugaku’s synergy with this new service to deliver its capabilities seamlessly in the cloud.”
In this regard, Fujitsu Cloud Service HPC differs from some other HPC-as-a-service offerings such as Lenovo’s TruScale and HPE’s GreenLake for high-performance computing, both of which provide physical infrastructure in the own data center or site. customer colocation, but as a managed service.
For businesses, another option is to opt for a cloud service provider, as shown by our sister site The next platform, with AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud all offering HPC capabilities. However, these generally require the customer to build and manage a solution themselves from individual services, while Fujitsu offers support services as part of the agreement.
Steve Conway, senior adviser for HPC Market Dynamics at Hyperion research, said Fujitsu’s move is not unprecedented and there is already a range of HPC services available.
“Fujitsu just joins the crowd,” he said.
However, the bigger picture is that Fujitsu is being pressured by the Japanese government to expand the availability of its supercomputer beyond the domestic market. “Japan tried to follow supercomputing leaders, and they did a good job, but it largely served the domestic market. Now the government has announced that it will open up to non-Japanese researchers,” Conway said. . .
Fujitsu’s K5 hybrid cloud service was sold and deployed as public, virtual private, or private hosted services until it was killed off in 2018 in all regions of the world except Japan. Since then, he has trained staff to be more skilled in AWS and Azure public clouds. ®