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Get Ahead with High-Performance Computing at the Edge of the Cloud

Julie Fagan

Black holes and strawberry picking. Sounds like the name of a millennial mixologist’s cocktail! But although they may seem like the least-related things in the world, they are both being investigated with greater insight because of high-performance edge computing.

The first-ever image of a black hole was published to great fanfare in the spring of 2019. A team of 200 scientists set up eight telescopes across the western hemisphere to capture the data needed to construct the image. The result was a shockingly clear picture of a black hole surrounded by a halo of flaming, golden gases. At the opposite end of the spectrum, agriculture scientists are using advanced technology. Strawberries are notorious for being difficult to pick, being very fragile and growing close to the ground. Researchers today are using GPS, lidar, and camera footage captured at the edge and processed with AI and big data analysis to develop an automated picking machine capable of mimicking human touch.

Uniting these disparate efforts is the need for gigantic datasets, collected at the edge, and processed with different forms of high-performance computing (HPC). According to, the black hole image project required processing 4 petabytes of data. To run workloads of this size reliably and smoothly, you need HPC infrastructures built on storage that can keep up with lightning-fast compute speeds. If storage can’t keep up, research and development will slow down, stop altogether, and—worst of all—data could be lost, destroying years of work. Fixing the problem could overextend your budget, and the competition could ultimately gain the advantage.

NetApp® high-performance E-Series systems provide a fast, reliable, cost-effective storage solution that connects to your hyperscaler of choice, creating a seamless edge-to-cloud connection. You retain control of your data, and costly data migrations are eliminated. Integrated with leading HPC systems like BeeGFS and IBM Spectrum Scale, NetApp technology gives you a flexible and personalized solution. That flexibility also extends to scaling your system out; you can expand storage with a pay-as-you-go strategy, adding one or more drives at a time as needed. The NetApp solution eliminates the need to pay for storage you aren’t using, yet allows limitless expansion as projects demand. The E-Series system also helps reduce your TCO because its industry-leading density helps bring down infrastructure costs like cooling and heating.

With a NetApp E-Series HPC solution on the edge of the cloud, you can:

  • Accelerate performance. Deploy systems that can process up to 1 million random read IOPS at less than 250 microseconds and 14GBps sustained (maximum burst) write bandwidth per scalable building block.
  • Improve reliability. Keep research and development operations running and maintain data integrity with systems that deliver 99.9999%+ availability and industry-leading durability, based on nearly 1 million units shipped.
  • Simplify operations. Add performance and capacity nondisruptively and without complex deployments or migrations. Dynamically configure new systems for faster deployment and automate common tasks for easier management.

To learn more, read the NetApp E-Series High-Performance Storage Solutions for Edge Computing use case.

Julie Fagan

Julie Fagan has a long career in high-tech solutions marketing. She loves working at NetApp where she gets to focus on bringing the best video surveillance and high performance computing storage solutions to the world along with her awesome co-workers.

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