The Beginning of an Era – HPC, Take Your Rightful Place in the Data Center

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In this special guest feature, Jill King from Adaptive Computing writes that the time is now for the Era of Enterprise HPC.

Jill King, VP of Marketing, Adaptive Computing

Jill King, VP of Marketing, Adaptive Computing

In May 2011 I moved my family to a sleepy little town in Utah called Provo. Utah is far different than sunny Southern California where I had lived my whole life. I started working for this hot little Cloud Management Platform (CMP) company called Adaptive Computing. Adaptive Computing was a little different from the Hi-Tech Orange County and Sorrento Valley companies where I had spent my career for the past 20 years.

However, I soon learned that they were a “little different” because they were so much more than a Cloud company. They also did this thing called HPC — High Performance Computing. I had never heard of this industry, despite having come from the Telecom, Networking and Enterprise IT space. They had really funny names for otherwise identifiable things. For example, in HPC a data center is called an “environment”. My colleagues talked about nodes, cores and systems. Initially confused, I quickly learned that they were speaking about servers. Not just any servers, but kick-ass HPC servers that are pooled together to make an even more robust and more powerful ecosystem.

Based on my experience, the number one priority in traditional IT is to keep applications running forever. Applications have relatively light compute and data loads and many applications run per server. But HPC applications don’t run forever, have finite start and stop times and often span many servers with heavy compute and data loads. I also realized that HPC was all around me, all the time, in my daily life from safety features in my car to my daily weather report as well as helping cure my friend’s stage 4 breast cancer. I saw applications for HPC on my vacation to the Kennedy Space Center and it exists on this very Boeing 757 as I fly home from the Supercomputing ’14 convention. HPC is everywhere and changes lives!

I just finished one of the most fun weeks in my career at SC14. Attendees are among the brightest minds in the world – scientists, engineers, HPC admins — and me! I felt like I was playing the child’s game “One of These is Not Like the Other”. I’m just a marketer. But I’m a marketer who gets it! I see HPC from a different perspective. HPC has been the traditional domain of Governments and Academics — building big systems not for profit. But I want to bring HPC to the masses. Many say that HPC is too complex. However, if I can get it, so can the masses. We just need industry to take the perceived complexity out of HPC – The KISS principal applies. Keep It Simple Stupid!

I launched Big Workflow for Adaptive Computing in February 2014. This is just the beginning of my greater vision of bringing HPC to the masses. Big Workflow unifies and optimizes data center resources thereby benefiting the analysis process and guaranteeing services to the business. As part of that vision, Adaptive Computing announced Moab 8.1 at SC14, which has two really cool features – Elastic Computing and an all-new Admin Portal called Viewpoint.

Elastic Computing unifies data center resources by HPC administrators to manage resource expansion by bursting to private/public clouds and other data center resources utilizing OpenStack or other standard platforms. It helps admins better manage the provisioning and performance challenges of bursty workloads.

Moab’s Viewpoint guarantees services to the business by allowing admins to simplify administrative reporting, workload status tracking, and job resource viewing. Moab Viewpoint Portal ensures SLAs are met by allowing HPC administrators to maximize uptime and demonstrate that services were delivered and resources were allocated fairly.

These are two examples of Big Workflow honoring the KISS principal and taming HPC complexities. Adaptive has plans to make Viewpoint even more robust and will be announcing many more features throughout next year, including an end-user portal designed to make any data center or HPC environment Amazon-like. This is when HPC really becomes viable for the masses.

I had the honor of being a part of the future of HPC at SC14. I witnessed the dawn of a new era. Merle Giles from NCSA Private Sector Program spoke in the Adaptive Computing Theater about Commercial HPC and the benefits industry could have from harnessing the power of HPC. Also in the Adaptive Theater I witnessed an emotionally charged Rich Brueckner, President of insideHPC, speak passionately about encouraging great minds within the HPC community to create companies that deliver HPC to the masses. And I met a woman name Cydney Ewald Stevens, who has created an organization called StartupHPC to cultivate talent and nurture entrepreneurship in HPC. I am honored to be among this group, bringing HPC to the masses, and to call these people my friends.

BeginningBig systems like Blue Waters, Titan and the new CORAL will always have their place in the HPC community. Traditional Academia and Government HPC environments will always push technology to its limits, break it, fix it and then push it even further. However, last year’s technology in traditional HPC will become this year’s technology in HPC for the masses, just in smaller scale.

Please join me in welcoming a new era — an era where HPC is the center of the business universe. It’s about keeping it simple and creating an ecosystem that adapts as demands dictate. Take the ease-of-use and collaboration of the cloud, couple that with the horsepower of HPC and extract the data necessary for the business to make game changing decisions. That’s the recipe for success and HPC is the cornerstone. HPC, take your rightful place in the data center.

About the Author

Jill King is responsible for driving market awareness and demand for Adaptive Computing’s products and services. With a professional background that spans more than 20 years in Telecom, Networking and IT, Jill King brings a wealth of marketing and leadership experience to her Adaptive Computing role. Prior to Adaptive Computing, Jill has held several senior management positions, including, CMO for Cierra, VP of Marketing for Asita, Director of Marketing for CAIS and Marcom roles for Nuera and others where her efforts significantly contributed to sizable revenue growth. As a portfolio entrepreneur, Jill has launched several startups, raised substantial capital and has been on the leadership team during three acquisitions including the acquisition of CAIS by Cisco. Jill has also launched new industries such as VoIP and VPN. It is her plan to do this a third time with the launch of Big Workflow, an industry term coined by Adaptive Computing to describe the acceleration of insights for IT professionals through more efficient processing of intense simulations and big data analysis.


  1. A very nicely-written article Jill.