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Monday, October 30, 2017

Microsoft adds Cray supercomputers to Azure in machine learning boost

By Nick Flaherty at

Microsoft has added Cray supercomputers alongside its Azure cloud offering in certain datacentres.

This will broaden the availability of supercomputing to new markets and new customers, says Cray, which will jointly engage with customers to offer dedicated supercomputing systems to run AI, advanced analytics, and modelling and simulation workloads seamlessly connected to the Azure cloud.
The deal brings the advantages of Cray’s tightly coupled system architecture and Aries interconnect to a new set of customers who were previously unable to purchase or maintain an on-premise Cray system. This will allow 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. 

Automotive and aerospace product engineers can now conduct crash simulation, computational fluid dynamic simulations, or build digital twins for rapid and precise product development and optimised maintenance. Geophysicists in energy companies can accelerate oil field analysis and reduce exploration risk with improved seismic imaging analysis performed in days and minutes, not months and weeks.

“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 centres. 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 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.”

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 datacentres, directly connected to the Microsoft Azure network. The Cray systems easily integrate with Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Data Lake storage, the Microsoft AI platform, and Azure Machine Learning services. Customers can also use the Cray Urika-XC analytics software suite and CycleCloud for hybrid HPC management.
More details and sign up (although not the particular datacentres) is at Cray in Azure page.

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