3 Ways High-Performance Computing Has Evolved Because Of The Cloud
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SAP, but the actual contents and opinions are the sole views of MakeUseOf.com.

High performance computing is one of those areas that people are skeptical of when it comes to migrating services to the cloud – performance and security are the biggest concerns, and understandably so.

Let’s look at 3 ways in which cloud computing is really evolving in the area of high performance computing though, and directly address those concerns here.

Dynamically Scalable Computing

Scalable computing is the remarkable ability to scale your services up and down as the need arises. Consider a typical web serving requirement on a dedicated server; upgrading is an arduous task that involves scheduling downtime, then sending in some engineers to physically perform the upgrade of additional memory or a CPU swap. This is impractical to do on a frequent basis, and if additional capabilities are required for just a short time, is incredibly costly. There’s also a finite physical limitation on the amount of upgrades that can be done this way; you could keep adding more servers, but again, this is impractical for short periods of time.

Dynamically scalable computing harnesses the power of virtualized computing instances in the cloud. These are dynamically scalable in the sense they can be upgraded as and only when required; and downscaled back again, instantly. This can be done without downtime; without scheduling engineering work; and programmatically. You can detect when you need more computing resources, and automatically increase the amount of computing power available. It’s a revolution, simply.

Cost is also a major factor here: to achieve the level of computing power capable with cloud virtualization in a local server environment would require a huge investment. By using virtualized cloud computing, not only can you achieve scalable services but you’re also effectively renting them; this represents massive cost savings and avoids computing power wastage.

For companies with a global presence, you can typically also choose the physical location of your computing instances, thereby ensuring the best access speeds to local teams.

Infinite Data Storage

Large volumes of data are the other major consideration, even more so when you factor in backups and redundant drives. Depending on the speed of access required, they are various cloud services that will give you infinite data storage at very affordable prices – far more cost effective than storing everything locally. If you simply need a large data archive and accessing the files isn’t urgent, the costs are even lower.

3 Ways High-Performance Computing Has Evolved Because Of The Cloud distributed storage

In addition, the task of backups is outsourced to the cloud provider: you don’t need to worry about storing these files in multiple physical locations. One less worry is always nice.


Most cloud computing services offer industry standard VPN capabilities with IPsec and SSL endpoints that ensure secure communication between your facilities and the cloud. Many have also implemented the ISO27001 standard that covers all levels of infrastructure, data centers and services. They have proprietary systems to mitigate DDoS hacks, and internal traffic sniffing is impossible between unrelated instances. For cloud service providers, security is at the forefront of every process; the same sadly cannot be said for most companies.

3 Ways High-Performance Computing Has Evolved Because Of The Cloud cloud security1

The simple fact of the matter is that cloud computing is nearly always more secure than setting up a local server. Why risk it?

Do you have any concerns about high performance cloud computing, or any stories to share? Let us know in the comments! How do you “MakeUseOf” of cloud computing?

Image Credits: Shutterstock – cloud computing; Shutterstock – cloud security; Shutterstock – distributed storage

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  1. Darren
    September 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    The cloud is only the future because idiots are using it.

    Any sane person can see that storing all your files elsewhere is a big mistake, if the company goes down you've lost everything, if they get hacked you've lost everything, if your internet connection drops, gets cut off, has maintenance you've lost access to everything.

    I already have SINGLE PLAYER GAMES that won't let me play them unless it "connects to the cloud" first. Stupid people jumping on the bandwagon and has made a stupid idea popular. Well done.

    • muotechguy
      September 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

      Equally as stupid to store them all at home, because if anything happens - burglary, fire - you've lost everything.

      Single player DRM is kind of unrelated, but I completely agree with you there; it doesnt stop piracy anyway, and just presents more issues to legit users.

  2. barney
    August 30, 2012 at 2:43 am

    "The simple fact of the matter is that cloud computing is nearly always more secure than setting up a local server. Why risk it?"

    I would question that "simple fact of the matter". While security has improved, there are still major Websites being hacked weekly, almost daily. Since I have no control over that security, I'll base my stuff on a local server. At least there, I know the security measures involved, and if I get hacked, it's my own fault - I wasn't willing to work hard enough to ensure safety.

    When it comes to cloud-based storage/usage, I have no idea what security measures are in place. Could be just security by obscurity & obfuscation. Until I can be aware of just what security is available, I'll stick to local.

    Oh, yeah ... I don't have to have Web connectivety to access my local server - which, btw, may not have Internet access. I know the cloud is coming, but until I can get some reasonable guarantees, I ain't usin' it.

    (Sorry if this ends up duplicated ... the Post Comment button gives me no feedback.)

    • muotechguy
      August 30, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Apolgoies Barney, I'm really referring to specific cloud services rather than consumer level dropbox type offerings - of course , those are just as vulnerable as any site. But if you look at a proper cloud solution like Amazon s3, their security is infinitely better. Their security policies and measures are well documented.

  3. GrrGrrr
    August 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Cloud is future, but the security is a prime concern.

  4. venkatp16
    August 29, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Good info on future gen technology. but how far they are secure!!!

    Dropbox, skydrive, etc have already been hacked... there should be some strong security steps to be taken before something goes wrong.

  5. Rajaa Chowdhury
    August 29, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Back during the year 1988, when I used to be a Citrix solutions evangelist in India with their Winframe and Metaframe solutions, Citrix used to speaks in similar lines on a computing architecture of the future with applications over the net and Application Service Providers. I remember configuring and running MS Office applications on our intranet through the browser with user access defined alongwith storage space for each user group. So, I guess I did take those initial baby steps towards cloud computing back then and it surprises how cloud has evolved and matured. :)

  6. Nart Barileva
    August 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    There are still risks with the cloud :/

    • April Eum
      August 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      i agree, that's why i try not to upload any important files. i mean it's a great way to keep up with files everywhere you go, but there are just as many risks with it.

    • muotechguy
      August 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Elaborate. They are better equipped to run multiple backups in different locations around the globe; they are more secure that most businesses or home users and accredited. What are these risks?

      • Nart Barileva
        August 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

        but you have all of your files freely available for people to hack; a large company is a much more significant target than your PC. This puts your files at risk from being accessed by people who shouldn't. Also, you have to trust these companies with your most sensitive information which is sometimes hard.

  7. delacruzjay
    August 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    The future is in the clouds!