Amazon Caters to Your Supercomputing Needs

Amazon has already gained quite a customer base for
its cloud-based EC2 computing services,
but now it’s ready to pull in bigger customers. A new program, called Cluster
Computer, can deliver a level of supercomputing power most typically seen in
research institutions and universities. In one test, an “880-node cluster
attained 41.82 teraflops, or floating-point operations per second, using the
Linpack mathematical speed test–that’s pretty close to the performance of the
145th fastest supercomputer in the world.”

Amazon Caters to Your Supercomputing NeedsWhy bother? According
to an Amazon spokesman

EC2 is now used for
workloads ranging from genomic sequence analysis to financial modeling and
automotive design. The Cluster Computer Instances are designed to support high
performance computing tasks, including parallel processing workloads. ‘These
customers have told us that many of their largest, most complex workloads
required additional network performance, (the spokesman) said.

Access to the Cluster server $1.60 per hour, about seven
times more than access to regular small EC2 servers.

You can read much
more about the speeds and feeds
as you ponder the interesting question of
what you could use all this raw computing power for. Typical businesses
don’t need supercomputing finesse, and those that do may be wary of using a
cloud-based solution, but if anyone can pull it off, Amazon can. EC2 has been a
roaring success, and this is the next logical step.

— Don Willmott