New UKMO HPC integrates Microsoft Azure and spack

The UKMO’s new HPC infrastructure is being supplied in partnership with the Microsoft:

utilising an object data store they called “active storage”:

Microsoft is also using spack to build software on it’s Azure HPC as a service (HPCaaS) cloud compute infrastructure:

These are very interesting developments.

Object data storage is the technology that underpins many “cloud” platforms: Amazon S3, Google Cloud, Azure Blob Storage.

Traditional academic HPC is also seeing the need to provide services like this. Pawsey has a 60PB object store as part of it’s Setonix capital refresh. It is becoming increasingly important that data isn’t silo’ed on storage that is unreachable from locations outside the host HPC centre.

It is also of particular interest that Microsoft have invested time and effort into using spack for deploying software. The UKMO relationship means they are porting UKMO software to be used with spack, which is work ACCESS-NRI should be able to leverage, and also aligns our efforts with an organisation that is a crucial collaborator for ACCESS-NRI partner organisations.