As for the NCBI BLAST announcement, Hilf notes that the code is in the public domain, but says running BLAST calculations on the Azure service will give scientists the ability to run gigantic database queries without investing in expensive hardware. In addition to porting BLAST to Azure, Microsoft built some Web-based user interfaces to make running calculations a bit easier, he says.
The cost of running BLAST on Azure will be the same as running any Azure workload, the price of which goes up as customers use more computing power. The 100 billion comparison BLAST workload, for example, was a query that took place on 4,000 cores over about six days for a price of less than $18,000.
While BLAST is the first HPC application Microsoft has offered on top of the Azure service, the vendor says more will come in the future. Even without such specific offerings, Microsoft says some customers have already begun running their own HPC workloads on the Azure cloud.
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