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To achieve these objectives, agencies must increasingly look to technologies like high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI). When properly deployed and fused, both offer the potential to deliver a high return on investment (ROI) and become mission-critical. Great examples of their application in the field include optimizing oil and gas exploration and production, improving patient outcomes, mitigating financial risks, and helping governments respond faster to emergencies and better analyze and mitigate terrorist and cybersecurity threats.

A bright but challenging future

HPC's and AI's promise shines so brightly that, according to a 2020 MarketsandMarkets Research report, the HPC market alone projects to grow 5.5% annually, from $37.8 billion in 2020 to $49.4 billion by 2025. Integrate HPC with AI, and the numbers likely get more significant.

But as HPC and AI expand and find their way into the mainstream at public sector entities, meeting requirements becomes more challenging as data volumes and variety explode. To achieve the total potential ROI from HPC and AI, an agency's HPC and AI solution must deliver superior accuracy and performance, stringent security, high reliability and availability, rapid time-to-results, and low total cost of ownership (TCO). It also must support the need for flexibility to run HPC and AI workloads on-premises and scale computing capabilities without incurring significant capital expenses by using cloud-like consumption-based pricing.

Maximizing ROI with scalable cluster solutions – and the right implementation strategy

A scalable cluster system that integrates HPC, storage, networking, and software provides these capabilities. However, the deployment of these scalable cluster solutions has produced a mix of success and disappointment. While some express satisfaction with their HPC investments, many fall short because HPC clusters suffer many pitfalls in real-world production environments. Thus, they fail to maximize their ROI fully.

HPC clusters often possess the above collection of components needed to manage the cluster efficiently. Until recently, when public sector organizations built these operational clusters, they frequently opted to go it alone and rely on a multi-vendor procurement to seek best-of-breed capabilities in every layer of the technology stack. With this model, no single solution provider assumes full responsibility for delivering the best possible business outcomes from their HPC and AI solutions. As a consequence of this mixing and matching of components:

  • System complexity rises, leading to management headaches and poor and inconsistent performance. Clusters morph into patched-together architectures with dated compute processors from various vendors, I/O and network speeds constrained by outdated technology, older storage systems from a storage vendor, and cluster management software from yet another vendor.
  • Issue identification, isolation, and resolution become more challenging, further impacting performance and escalating support costs.

Susan Shapero, vice president of US Public Sector at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, sums up the situation perfectly, "This legacy approach ultimately proves untenable due to the rapid, yet differing, rates of product evolution and the associated substantial cost, time, and difficulty to upgrade to and integrate the latest technological advances. Over time, HPC clusters inevitably fall behind and can no longer deliver the optimal ROI."

To avoid these pitfalls and get the most from their HPC and AI investments and solutions that keep pace with the latest technology and the ever-changing functional, performance, security, and scalability business requirements, agencies must adopt a different strategy. They can turn to a single vendor whose product incorporates the entire set of components of an HPC and AI solution, such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise's E2E cluster solution, delivered by a trusted service provider partner. This winning combination produces future-proof HPC and AI solutions that maximize ROI, deliver a competitive edge, and allow public sector entities to focus on the needs of their customers and constituents.

Access the on-demand version of our Public Sector Tech Talk, How to Successfully Integrate High-Performance Computing into the Public Sector Business, to learn how public sector entities integrate HPC into legacy infrastructures in a timely, cost-efficient manner without creating silos and examine the role that AI, IoT, and the edge play in deploying the infrastructure needed to solve today's and tomorrow's most complex problems.

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