Cray brings its supercomputing systems to the cloud

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Legendary supercomputer company Cray Inc. today said it will offer its high-end systems and technologies as a cloud-based service to enterprises and other high-performance computing organizations.

Cray said it’s teaming up with cloud computing provider Markley Group to offer its supercomputing systems as a service, beginning with systems for the life sciences industry, it said in a statement. Later, the companies will expand their services to other industries, and develop industry-specific solutions in future.

The effort is part of Cray’s strategy to meet the growing demand for superior data analytics capabilities in the commercial and enterprises spaces. Earlier this month, during the company’s most recent quarterly financial call, Cray President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Ungaro noted that its traditional high-performance computing market had slowed down, forcing it to branch out.

While he expects the HPC market to turnaround in the near future, Ungaro explained that the company’s “second main focus area is to continue to expand in the commercial and big data markets. As data continues to explode, our government and commercial customers are looking for new ways to leverage that data into actionable business decisions.”

Cray will also look to partner with solutions providers to find other ways to deliver its technologies to the market, Ungaro said.

With today’s partnership with Markley, Cray will make its supercomputer systems available to users that were previously unable to access them, including scientists and engineers, said Fred Kohout, senior vice president of products and chief marketing officer at Cray. He added that Cray had seen demand from a range of industries including aerospace, financial services, government and pharmaceuticals.

Markley is a 26-year-old Boston-based infrastructure-as-a-service company that operates more than 3 million square feet of data center space in the U.S. and Europe. In a statement, Markley Chief Technology Officer Patrick Gilmore said it made sense for it to deliver supercomputer capabilities because it was also seeing a big demand for cloud computing, analytics and machine learning.

“The need for supercomputers has never been greater,” Gilmore said. “For the life sciences industry especially, speed to market is critical. By making supercomputing and big data analytics available in a hosted model, Markley and Cray are providing organizations with the opportunity to reap significant benefits, both economically and operationally.”

The company’s initial offering to the life sciences industry will include Cray’s Urika-GX integrated hardware and software offering for big data analytics. The appliance, introduced last year, leverages open technologies and can run multiple workloads simultaneously, including Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark and OpenStack. The offering will also include the Cray Graph Engine to provide pattern-matching capabilities, and will be made available either on-premises or in the cloud.

Cray said it will make more of its infrastructure, including its Urika-XA and Urika-GD systems, available via the cloud at a later date.

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