Recently, I have enjoyed using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) quite a bit. I have also been doing high throughput computing for the last 5 years. Here I summarize the major difference between the Google Cloud Platform and a typical HPC environment. In my opinion, Google Cloud Platform is much better and more flexible to use regardless of cost. I don’t have a concrete idea on how much HPC setup and maintainence costs, but GCP to me is

1;95;0cnot cheap.

  GCP In-house HPC
Storage A varietyof kinds for different needs, e.g. Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud SQL, Google datastore, Google Block storage, etc. GPFS
Node/Instance A variety of CPU, memory sizes, or even customized Fixed
Network Not sure, ~180ms latency based on a 2013 test InfiniBand
Queuing time No Could be long
Operating system A variety of OS, including standard linux distros, so software installation is relatively standard and easy Not necessarily standard linux, could be specialized, no root access, software installation can be tricky
Docker Support uncommon
Horizontal scale You can secure thousands of CPUs easily Depending on the actual usage policy, usually it’s not as flexible
On-demand Yes, a cluster can be torn down easily after the analysis is done No, the cluster is always there, busy or idle
Cluster type Besides a normal setup of a collection of nodes, you could also set up Hadoop, Spark type of cluster, Google Cloud Dataproc, which will be useful for using frameworks like ADAM in the future Hadoop or Spark cluster setup is still not very common