Archive for November, 2010

Unleash the power of Graphic Cards computation in the cloud: Amazon EC2 announcing Cluster GPU instances

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Just fresh from Amazon, that’s gonna be a lot of fun!

It’s CUDA in the cloud, nice.

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of Cluster GPU Instances for Amazon EC2, a new instance type designed to deliver the power of GPU processing in the cloud. GPUs are increasingly being used to accelerate the performance of many general purpose computing problems. However, for many organizations, GPU processing has been out of reach due to the unique infrastructural challenges and high cost of the technology. Amazon Cluster GPU Instances remove this barrier by providing developers and businesses immediate access to the highly tuned compute performance of GPUs with no upfront investment or long-term commitment.

Amazon Cluster GPU Instances provide 22 GB of memory, 33.5 EC2 Compute Units, and utilize the Amazon EC2 Cluster network, which provides high throughput and low latency for High Performance Computing (HPC) and data intensive applications. Each GPU instance features two NVIDIA Tesla® M2050 GPUs, delivering peak performance of more than one trillion double-precision FLOPS. Many workloads can be greatly accelerated by taking advantage of the parallel processing power of hundreds of cores in the new GPU instances. Many industries including oil and gas exploration, graphics rendering and engineering design are using GPU processors to improve the performance of their critical applications.

Amazon Cluster GPU Instances extend the options for running HPC workloads in the AWS cloud. Cluster Compute Instances, launched earlier this year, provide the ability to create clusters of instances connected by a low latency, high throughput network. Cluster GPU Instances give customers with HPC workloads an additional option to further customize their high performance clusters in the cloud. For those customers who have applications that can benefit from the parallel computing power of GPUs, Amazon Cluster GPU Instances can often lead to even further efficiency gains over what can be achieved with traditional processors. By leveraging both instance types, HPC customers can tailor their compute cluster to best meet the performance needs of their workloads. For more information on HPC capabilities provided by Amazon EC2, visit aws.amazon.com/ec2/hpc-applications.

At $2.10 per hour (and $5630 with a one-year contract or $8650 for 3 years), it’s the most expensive instance you can get, and of course the beefiest one.

Operating this server for a full year would cost you $18,396 without contract, or $12,112 ($5,630 up front plus $6,482 of usage) with a one year contract.

Here is the description of the instance:

Instances of this family provide general-purpose graphics processing units (GPUs) with proportionally high CPU and increased network performance for applications benefitting from highly parallelized processing, including HPC, rendering and media processing applications. While Cluster Compute Instances provide the ability to create clusters of instances connected by a low latency, high throughput network, Cluster GPU Instances provide an additional option for applications that can benefit from the efficiency gains of the parallel computing power of GPUs over what can be achieved with traditional processors. Learn more about use of this instance type for HPC applications.

The Cluster GPU instance family currently contains a single instance type, the Cluster GPU Quadruple Extra Large with the following specifications:

22 GB of memory
33.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 x Intel Xeon X5570, quad-core “Nehalem” architecture)
2 x NVIDIA Tesla “Fermi” M2050 GPUs
1690 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: Very High (10 Gigabit Ethernet)
API name: cg1.4xlarge

Note: One EC2 Compute Unit (ECU) provides the equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor.

The Amazon EC2 Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU instance types are specifically designed to combine high compute performance with high performance network capability to meet the needs of HPC applications. Unique to Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU instances is the ability to group them into clusters of instances for use with HPC applications. This is particularly valuable for those applications that rely on protocols like Message Passing Interface (MPI) for tightly coupled inter-node communication.

Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU instances function just like other Amazon EC2 instances but also offer the following features for optimal performance with HPC applications:

When run as a cluster of instances, they provide low latency, full bisection 10 Gbps bandwidth between instances. Cluster sizes up through and above 128 instances are supported.
Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU instances include the specific processor architecture in their definition to allow developers to tune their applications by compiling applications for that specific processor architecture in order to achieve optimal performance.

This opens the doors to heavy video processing, 3D rendering, SETI-type parallel processing directly in the cloud.

Update 11/16: And people are already using it to crack passwords demonstrating how easy it has become to break SHA1.