Transitioning research computing workloads to the cloud: A thematic approach at Cardiff University

Tom Green, Cardiff University

We outline the service work underway at Cardiff University to inform the transition of our research computing community to the cloud. With the cloud now recognised as an attractive solution to bursting out on-premise HPC capacity, this project is both exploring such options while looking to provide a more thematic approach to cloud sourcing. Following a procurement for cloud services, including a performance evaluation exercise, AWS was selected to provide the initial resource for this pilot project. We discuss the methodology used in mapping the thematic usage profile of our 21,000 core on-premise cluster to assess the available environments. This usage varies from the compute intensive workloads associated with the Physical Sciences & Engineering community to the more data intensive workloads from Biology & Life Sciences. The cost and performance attributes of such workloads, based on a variety of use cases, is set to quantitatively inform the future procurement of HPC services. To help with project management and cost control, we have selected the Ronin user-interface that also permits management of the resources available to users. On completion of this project we will be better positioned to direct users from a cost and performance perspective in a future featuring a hybrid cloud and on-premise HPC service.

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