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enCORE: where we’ve come from and what the future holds

Engys: aircraft cabin

OpenFOAM CFD simulation of aircraft cabin. Image courtesy of enCORE customer Engys

As 2012 comes to a close, it is worth considering where we’ve come from with the enCORE HPC on-Demand service, and what the future holds.

There has been much written about general cloud computing again in 2012, and in the UK much of the industry comment has focused on G-Cloudii, the second phase of the government’s push towards cloud. OCF was successful in winning a place on this second framework, but like so many others we’ve yet to see any business come from it. The jury certainly seems to be out on whether it will ever gain a foothold in the corridors of Whitehall. That said we’re in discussions that could result in a client using G-Cloud as a simple way to purchase services from us.

Away from public sector, the key message coming from our clients and prospects is a simple one: flexibility. The enCORE service has been used by a variety of organisations that often have very immediate and sometimes challenging requirements driven by commercial projects or issues with in-house infrastructure. Our job is to be in a position to meet those short-term challenges and, to date; we’ve managed to do that with a very pro-active approach.

What we’ve also been able to do is customise solutions to meet specific business need. Engys, for example, continues to be an enCORE user as do users of their software, but its team wanted their own cluster managed and hosted by OCF to support their steady flow of simulations by Engys staff across Europe. This is one example of OCF’s ability to quickly and cost-effectively deliver bespoke solutions.

We’ve continued to see clients win business on the back of the flexibility and pricing that enCORE gives them, and our pipeline includes quite a significant percentage of project-specific opportunities. Our challenge is to continue to meet the short-term demands for HPC capacity and deliver a high quality service. We will also develop the scope of the enCORE service, with new applications and services to meet requirements of clients across various sectors.

The recent scale up of the service to many thousands of cores will certainly allow us to meet demand for larger capacity requirements and more stringent SLAs. It also allows us to extend our service into larger corporate organisations now that we’ve got the sort of capacity that really interests them. Already we are in discussions with a number of such organisations who wish to seriously explore the merits of on-demand HPC in detail, and how it can benefit their businesses.

Our involvement in the Hartree Centre is also fundamental to the growth of the service alongside Hartree’s aim to extend the adoption of HPC technology across UK business. This is not something that will take off overnight, but already the Hartree Centre is seeing opportunities across various market sectors that auger well for the future and for the whole government e-Infrastructure programme.

2013 will be an exciting year!


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