Cloud

Cray supercomputing comes to Microsoft Azure to boost AI workloads in the cloud

The strategic alliance will allow Microsoft Azure users to leverage Cray supercomputing systems to run advanced analytics, modeling workloads, and more at scale.

A new alliance between Cray and Microsoft will bring Cray's supercomputing capabilities to Microsoft's Azure cloud, in an effort to help businesses more easily scale workloads for artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, modeling, and more, according to a Monday press release.

The partnership will enable new capabilities for businesses in the cloud, but it will also help broaden the reach of Cray's capabilities, the release said. Customers who may have previously been unable to access an on-premise Cray system will now have an option to engage its features in the cloud.

"By working with Cray to provide dedicated supercomputers in Azure, we are offering customers uncompromising performance and scalability that enables a host of new previously unimaginable scenarios in the public cloud," Microsoft Azure corporate vice president Jason Zander said in the release. "More importantly, we're moving customers into a new era by empowering them to use HPC and AI to drive breakthrough advances in science, engineering and health."

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Specifically, the Cray XC and Cray CS with the attached Cray ClusterStor storage systems will be available for provisioning in Azure, the release said. These Cray systems can integrate with a few different Azure tools such as Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Data Lake storage, Azure Machine Learning services, and the Microsoft AI platform.

Additionally, hybrid HPC management is made possible through the Cray Urika-XC analytics suite and CycleCloud.

"Dedicated Cray supercomputers in Azure not only give customers all of the breadth of features and services from the leader in enterprise cloud, but also the advantages of running a wide array of workloads on a true supercomputer, the ability to scale applications to unprecedented levels, and the performance and capabilities previously only found in the largest on-premise supercomputing centers," Cray CEO Peter Ungaro said in the release.

While Amazon is still crushing all competitors in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) space, Microsoft is making some serious advancements. Microsoft recently detailed its four-step plan for removing barriers to the cloud, which included unlocking AI solutions. The Cray partnership could go a long way in helping enable AI advancement for Azure customers.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new alliance will bring Cray supercomputing systems to Microsoft Azure, to enable scalable AI, analytics, and modeling workloads.
  2. The Cray XC and Cray CS with the attached Cray ClusterStor storage systems will be available for provisioning through Azure.
  3. The Cray systems will integrate with Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Data Lake storage, Azure Machine Learning services, and the Microsoft AI platform.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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