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Bright Computing Targets Cloud Bursting

San Jose-based Bright Computing is looking to take cloud bursting to the masses with Bright Cluster Manager 6.0. The new release incorporates technology to support cloud bursting, a technology that allows private clouds to scale out to public clouds when loads outgrow private cloud compute resources. It supports all Amazon instance types, including Cluster GPU Instances.

While cloud bursting may be relatively new, the basic concept of balancing workloads has been an ongoing concern for IT managers, especially those dealing with high-performance computing (HPC) applications. The age-old problem has always been one of scale--how to scale performance and capacity up or down based upon workloads, without overspending on technology or services. Simply put, compute cycles can be expensive, and no one wants to pay for under-used or, worse yet, unused capacity.

The company, which is known for its cluster management and HPC grid solutions, has partnered with Amazon to extend on-site clusters and servers into the Amazon EC2 cloud. Bright Cluster Manager 6.0 allows network administrators to control and manage those resources as if they are based locally, which simplifies cloud bursting and removes many of the barriers normally found when trying to dynamically add compute capacity.

"One important barrier to cloud computing adoption in HPC is data movement and data management," says Steve Conway, IDC research VP for HPC. "Cloud latency issues can make it challenging to ensure that the right data are in position when applications need to run on the cloud, and that the data are returned in a timely way afterward. Bright addresses this challenge by designing data-aware scheduling directly into the company's cloud-bursting capability. This integrated approach could make it easier for mainstream HPC applications to exploit cloud computing."

The Bright Cluster Manager 6.0 Data Aware Scheduling capability eliminates one of the primary drawbacks of cloud bursting solutions--lack of automation. Normally, running a compute job forces cloud computing users to manually initiate the data transfer, monitor the completion of this task, and then submit the job into the queue. Upon completion, the user needs to retrieve the output data. That process can be complex and consumes both user time and usage fees. By contrast, Bright Cluster Manager 6.0 runs the process as a single step, dramatically improving productivity and cycle times.

Bright Cluster Manager 6.0 provides cloud-readiness as a standard feature, enabling system administrators to expand capacity as needed or to evaluate the use of GPUs for applications. Bright provides two alternatives for cloud bursting: extending on-site clusters into the EC2 cloud and managing these nodes as if part of the local system; or creating entirely new clusters in EC2 and providing the full provisioning, scheduling, monitoring and management capabilities that Bright provides for local clusters.

The cluster extension scenario is particularly useful for users with varying workload demands on their clusters. Users can determine whether to run their applications locally, in the cloud or, for suitable parallel applications, split between the local cluster and the cloud. In all cases, the system administrator and user have complete visibility, as if the entire cluster was on-site.

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