High Performance Computing (HPC) workloads have traditionally been run only on bare-metal, unvirtualized hardware. However, performance for these highly parallel technical workloads has increased dramatically with the introduction of hardware support for virtualization, enabling organizations to begin embracing the numerous benefits that a virtualization platform can offer. In addition, VMware has started offering vSphere in a new Scale-out Edition with a feature set that has been adjusted to align with HPC requirements and with a competitive price point that is appropriate for scale-out workload types.
Jackson National Life Insurance Company is at the forefront of this trend because of its design and implementation of a novel approach that incorporates financial HPC workloads into Jackson’s existing VMware virtualized environment Specifically, harvesting unused computing capacity from its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) enables Jackson to deliver significant value to its organization.
We have published a paper entitled Harvesting Free Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Compute Cycles For High Performance Computing Workloads Using VMware vSphere which describes this case study in more detail. In this paper, we describe the broader trends toward adoption of virtualization for HPC, explain the Jackson deployment in detail, and provide performance data demonstrating the value of this approach. You can also view the VMworld 2017 session recording on this same topic.