December 21, 2022
3 Steps to Successfully Deploying High-Performance Computing
Many agencies need help implementing HPC solutions for high-value workloads.
High-performance computing can help federal agencies fulfill their missions faster and more effectively by speeding search processes, enabling the use of artificial intelligence, powering simulations and supporting other cutting-edge capabilities. HPC solutions can process data and perform complex calculations at high speeds, but deployments can be tricky. The technology incorporates sophisticated components that must be integrated effectively.
In recent years, agencies have used HPC solutions for a variety of applications, including conducting research around COVID-19 treatments and solving complex computational and data analysis problems related to renewable energy technologies. HPC clusters can be assembled from hundreds or thousands of servers that are networked together. Each server in a cluster is called a node, and nodes, which are based on CPUs or graphics processing units, work together in parallel to boost processing power (and thus deliver high-performance computing).
CDW•G can help agencies chart a path toward HPC to support their most demanding mission requirements. Here are three steps that can help agencies achieve HPC success.
1. Design to Meet the Agency’s Needs
To effectively implement an HPC solution, an agency first must work out a design. This requires a thorough understanding of the agency’s requirements and the potential use cases for the solution. Common use cases include processing queries faster, using conversational AI for translation or running complex simulations in a matter of hours instead of weeks. A useful design starts with defining how the solution benefits the agency’s mission.
As part of the design, agency leaders should establish metrics and benchmarks to define success, get funding in place and coordinate the agency’s procurement processes.
As the agency starts to evaluate available technologies, CDW•G can help identify the appropriate tools and coordinate components from multiple vendors to ensure all the pieces come together. An onsite survey can verify that the agency has the proper infrastructure to support its HPC vision, and an in-depth evaluation can help the agency identify a solution that not only meets its current needs but also offers room to grow as missions evolve.
2. Organize the Deployment of the HPC Solution
Implementing HPC is a complicated effort that involves multiple vendors and a range of technologies. CDW•G works to ensure that all partners are at the table and available for support.
Some agencies deploy HPC systems at a remote site and therefore must provide users with remote access. By offering this kind of proprietary access, Sirius can help agencies test and iterate as software components are installed, enabling them to optimize the system as it comes together.
Once the build is complete, CDW•G supports the agency through the integration phase. This means not only installing the HPC solution onsite but also bringing it up into full production mode and ensuring it performs as planned.
3. Leverage Ongoing Support
A move to an HPC solution is rarely a one-and-done situation. A complex system that supports multiple high-intensity operations will probably need fine-tuning along the way. For example, algorithms have to be trained, as do operators.
As part of an HPC deployment, CDW•G offers ongoing support, including access to data scientists whose skills can be critical to the successful use of these solutions. Through our vendor relationships, we also can help agencies access skilled experts needed to generate maximum value from an HPC investment.
Ultimately, HPC solutions can provide the speed and processing power that agencies need for a variety of missions. We can help them plan, implement and maintain an HPC deployment.
Story by Matthew Warner, a highly accomplished lead architect with more than 20 years of comprehensive experience in architecting sustainable enterprise-scale architectures, high-performance computing, cloud applications and solutions, enterprise-scale systems modernization, cloud-native architectures, microservices architecture and containerized applications. He has specialized knowledge in the federal and financial services sectors. Warner and his family live in the Greater Philadelphia area, and he is a die-hard Philadelphia and Manchester United fan.