Microsoft and Cray are to link supercomputers directly into Azure data centres, providing high-end scalability for AI workloads

Microsoft is to offer Cray supercomputing power via its Azure cloud platform, in a deal aimed at those looking to speed up the training of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, carrying out large-scale analytics processes or other processing-intensive chores.

The supercomputers are to be integrated with Azure virtual machines, data storage and Microsoft’s cloud AI platform and machine learning services, said Microsoft corporate vice president Jason Zander.

Cray chief executive Peter Ungaro said the deal gives Azure users access to the benefits of supercomputing, including scalability and and a level of performance previously only found in large supercomputing centres.

HPC and supercomputing technologies are in greater demand as companies increasingly require large amounts of processing capacity for AI and analytics workloads, as well as others including creating detailed models and simulations.

In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields supercomputing can shorten the time it takes to carry out whole genome sequencing, while automotive and aerospace product engineers can use the platform to conduct crash or fluid dynamic simulations.

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