HPC Springs Eternal at Dell Technologies HPC Community Meeting

The Dell Technologies HPC Community held its first online-only conference, producing great discussions and recommendations to advance HPC, as well as helping professionals and colleagues connect virtually.

The Dell Technologies HPC Community brings professionals and practitioners together to advance the development, adoption and impact of HPC. The Community’s spring meeting at the end of March was no different.

The two-day online event offered Community members the chance to connect over several hours each day to hear from HPC thought leaders on topics such as quantum computing and neuromorphic computing, AI, multi-cloud and large-scale simulation and data analytics.

Jay Boisseau, AI & HPC Technology Strategist at Dell Technologies, kicked things off by welcoming members and partners. Both days featured keynotes from Dell Technologies – on Tuesday with SVP of Integrated Solutions, Peter Manca, and Wednesday with Caitlin Gordon, VP of Solutions Development – who both talked about Dell Technologies’ commitment to the HPC space.

From there, attendees were able to listen to partner keynotes from NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel. The topics covered the latest performance-based EPYC architecture from AMD and NVIDIA’s new cloud-native supercomputing architecture, as well as introduced new HPC forums, such as Intel’s OneAPI initiative.

The event itself may have been online, but the content – from the keynotes, to the breakouts, to the CTO panel discussion – was happening in real time. Members were able to watch the live keynotes and then use the parallel breakout tracks to engage with peers on the topics that most interested them. Online events can get be difficult to navigate, but the feedback was overly positive.

The platform was better than I have seen so far, with breakouts and the stage very easily navigated,” said Alex Picchietti, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances at Verne Global.

While each breakout track had moderators to initiate and drive discussion, it was the insight from community members that made these tracks more conversational and thus more rewarding. Attendees found the content to be “well balanced with input from/for customer, partner, Dell. Solid all around.”

During the breakouts, many members used the live chat tool to offer insight into their own best practices. Additionally, members shared where they see opportunities to improve and expand the HPC ecosystem in the future.

Several themes emerged over the course of the event:

Interoperability: many attendees highlighted the need for an infrastructure that can meet the performance and scalability required for a HPC environment. At the same time, there’s a need to maintain open standards flexibility to support multiple workloads both in traditional on-premises, as well as emerging cloud-native environments. Many noted that the preference is to keep the infrastructure on-premises, as adoption of storage-as-a-service models – including cloud – is low. However, some members suggested that bursting during peak times when the cloud can help off-load some burden from the on-premises infrastructure.

Several attendees acknowledged that they include heating, cooling and power consumption as a part of purchasing decisions. Due to this, along with other considerations, such as lifecycle management, funding models, compliance and security, attendees discussed the value of adopting hybrid cloud strategies to leverage both on-premises and cloud infrastructure for their HPC workload needs.

Especially as use cases for HPC are merged with simulation and AI modeling workloads, data sets are growing larger. HPC customers seek the ability to abstract from silos towards heterogeneous resource pools while still providing a standard platform where they can run different applications. As multi-cloud environments grow, so does the need for the focus to remain on data portability and manageability to truly take advantage of a hybrid environment.

It’s this type of dialogue – from partners, customers, and subject matter experts – which drives the mission of the Dell Technologies HPC Community.

“The Dell Technologies HPC Community brings together Dell, our technology partners, and our HPC customers to share, discuss, ideate, connect, and collaborate,” Jay Boisseau says. “Our first online-only conference produced great discussions and recommendations to advance HPC, and it helped HPC professionals and colleagues connect/reconnect via interactive formats and tools.”

Attendees agreed. In fact, many said it was their favorite event they attended since the beginning of the pandemic. One member wished she could have “cloned myself” to attend more of the sessions in real time.

While the hope is for in-person events to sprout up again soon, it’s clear that hybrid events – with both remote and in-person portions – will remain a part of the future for HPC communities. The good news is, either way, members of the Dell Technologies HPC Community will be ready for the next get together. The important thing is the connections that blossom between members.

“While virtual Conferences are not the same as in-person events, the Dell HPC Community event was the closest thing to being in person that we have experienced,” said Rod Mach, CEO of TotalCAE. “It was refreshing to get together again with our peers”

To become a member, please visit www.dellHPC.org.

George O'Toole

About the Author: George O'Toole

George O’Toole is a Senior Product Marketing Manager, focusing on how Dell Technologies’ portfolio can digitally transform businesses for customers leveraging High Performance Computing (HPC), Data Analytics, and VDI workloads. George has been part of the Dell Technologies family for 12 years, holding various roles around product and solutions marketing for Cloud, Storage, and CI and HCI product families. His primary focus has been on creating content across digital, social, events, customer stories and large-scale tech alliances.