Microsoft and Cray have entered into a partnership through which they will provide Azure customers with supercomputer-powered solutions for processing their workloads.
The supercomputing hardware has been installed in Microsoft datacentres. According to what the pair has announced recently, customers in select Microsoft datacentres will be able to use Cray XC and Cray CS supercomputers connected to Cray ClusterStore storage systems. These systems will be directly connected to Microsoft Azure, as well as with Microsoft’s AI and Machine Learning services.
Microsoft and Cray intend to be catering their services to customers who are looking for the following:
- Modelling simulations
- Advanced analytics
- High-performance computing
- Artificial intelligence
The new Azure solution is a great fit for those who deem it financially unwise to invest in and maintain their own on-premises Cray systems.
It’s not the first time we see Microsoft and Cray working together. Last December, for example, they teamed up to work together on scaling the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit to be compatible with Cray X50 supercomputers. Way back in 2005, Burton Smith, co-founder of Cray, joined Microsoft, while still remaining a Technical Fellow with the Cray company.
Apart from that, somewhere down the line, Microsoft Azure customers will also receive field-programmable gate array (FPGA) processing power, suitable for data-intensive tasks.
Microsoft is also looking to introduce its Brainwave AI framework to external developers, so they can push the boundaries of AI-influenced services suitable for cloud deployments. This includes:
- Natural-language processing
- Computer vision
Microsoft is looking to make this commercially available to Azure users in 2018.