Running HPC Workloads on AWS using Alces Flight

Igor Kozin, ICR

Public clouds have democratised HPC. Anyone can start a cluster in a cloud using tools such as Alces Flight with minimal knowledge of how it is done and quickly get a familiar HPC environment. While starting a personal HPC cluster on demand brings a great benefit, the user is typically required to have elevated privileges to perform this and with privileges come responsibilities which the user may not want.

We describe a simple solution for such situations which requires only write and read permission to a user folder on S3. By creating a simple configuration file, a user can start a pre-configured Alces Flight cluster and then kill it just as easily. We will describe our implementation which is done using S3 triggers and AWS Lambda.