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How do you even budget cloud expenses?

This cost comparison between cloud providers is not easy to make. At Nerdalize, we find it important to help our customers make the right consideration between different providers and instance types.

To make this decision easier for you, we have created a benchmark tool. This tool will give you an overview of the runtime and price/performance for different cloud providers, which makes it possible for you to choose the most suitable cloud provider for your compute job.


Do you want to use the cloud, but you do not know where to start?

Currently, there are a lot of cloud providers with different instances, prices and additional services. There are variable and fixed factors that could influence your choice of cloud provider. Some of these variable factors are price, performance and runtime.

Benchmark badges

The performance of a server is influenced by several factors, which include the number and type of CPUs, storage and RAM. Each compute job has a different specification and thereby needs a different configuration. Some compute jobs might need a lot of RAM, where other jobs are more CPU intensive. Additionally, not all compute jobs necessarily perform better on more CPUs. Therefore it is important to choose an instance that matches the specifications of your job. By choosing the right infrastructure for your job, it is possible to increase the performance and thereby decrease the runtime in order to lower your costs.

Benchmark Report: Plan your own project now!

At Nerdalize we developed a benchmarking tool that runs a small sample of your compute project with a specific software program and sample dataset on different instances at different cloud providers. Comparing the performance of this sample job at different providers enables us to give you an overview of the price/performance per cloud provider for your specific project.

Cost per job
providers/awsproviders/azureproviders/gceproviders/nerdalize

As a result, you get a report with the runtime and price per instance for your sample job. Whether you are looking for the fastest machine or the best price/performance, this overview enables you to choose the right instance and provider for your project. The benchmark report makes it possible to compare the performance and costs of your compute job on multiple cloud providers, such as the Google Compute Engine, AWS, Azure and Nerdalize.

The benchmark report shows you the variables runtime and cost per job, so you can choose the optimal instance for you. Move the slider between runtime and costs and select the optimal instance for you, just like Erik did:

This is really wonderful! First, the Nerdalize Benchmark tool is really clear and well designed… fun to play with. Second, the results are super promising.

Erik Schultes

The benchmark report does not only help you to compare several cloud providers, it is also a great tool to help you forecast the total runtime and cost of your specific project. This helps you plan the total runtime and budget of your compute project and communicate it to your customers or colleagues.

It is important to carefully think about your choice in cloud provider and take into account all the factors. Are you not sure which cloud provider and what factors suit your compute job? Get a benchmark report or get in touch! And find out which cloud provider is the most suitable for your project.

Thanks to all

This. Was. Epic. Thank you so much for your support! We started this campaign in the hope we could raise enough funds to start at 20 locations, but the enthusiasm was much higher than we could have hoped for! We raised our target, twice, and still managed to reach our 2nd stretch target before the campaign was planned to end. Amazing! This means we now have €750.000 to equip 50 locations, save a sweet 150 tons of CO2 and hire two extra software engineers so we can grow faster! We’ll have a little celebration tomorrow and then it’s back to, you know, changing the world. 😃

We are super proud that so many decided to support us and we hope that in a few years people will be able to say on birthdays that they were an early part of a successful adventure. We are going to do our very best to make that happen and you’ll hear about our next steps soon!

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Cloud made easy for hydro engineers

Last week Nerdalize got the opportunity to present our cloud platform to Deltares users. Twice a year, Deltares organizes the Deltares Software Days, an event to meet up with users of Deltares software and talk about the latest developments and trends in the field of hydrology. For the past 3 DSDs we were invited to present our cloud platform. These are always very interesting moments to learn more about our users and their cloud needs!

Together with users of Deltares software we developed our platform in a way that makes it very easy for engineers to run their hydro simulations on our cloud resources. Like in other industry segments, you can see an increasing need for computing power in hydro engineering. With needs for higher resolutions and bigger simulations, projects often demand more computing power than an internal cluster can offer in order to meet deadlines.

In close collaboration with hydro engineers we developed a platform:
  • that decreases the time needed to run hydro models in the cloud
  • that offers computing power with the best price performance
  • without vendor lock-in at a specific cloud provider

Deltares User Research
Using Deltares software in the cloud

This DSD we showed users our new Command Line Interface. We developed a workflow for hydro engineers in order to use Deltares software on our cloud resources without needing support from the IT department. This enables hydro engineers to scale up to the cloud and lower the runtime of their projects without having to spend time and effort in setting up the environment. And use compute power of the most affordable cloud provider out there!

What we do in summer?

In my customer-facing role at Nerdalize I have explained our concept to hundreds of people in the year that I have been working here. I often talk about my work to potential customers, on network events and at fairs. And being someone that tends to take some work home, it often passes conversations with friends or family at birthday parties.

The responses are always very enthusiastic, but our solution also often triggers a lot of questions. One of the first things that often comes to mind: “but since you guys are producing heat, what do you do when there is no need for this heat? What about summer?”

Let me be clear on one thing: as a cloud customer you can keep running computations in summer. But how do we manage this heat production?

There are a number of measures we took to make sure we can compute and produce heat throughout every day of the year:

  1. Hot water buffer – One of the reasons we switched to heating water instead of air is that it is easier to create a thermal buffer. This way the water can be used in the kitchen or bathroom whenever the heat is needed. And people shower and wash dishes throughout the year anyhow!

  2. Distribution of heat – An advantage of our distributed system is that we can distribute the computations and thereby distribute the heat production based on the need for heat per household. If the maximum temperature is reached in one home, but not in another we can easily transfer a computation to a different CloudBox to make sure the heat is produced where it is still needed.

  3. Heat dump – In case we do have an overproduction of heat we designed the system to dispose of the heat. This is of course our last option and we will always try to make efficient use of all the produced heat.

  4. Future integrations – We are always looking at future integrations with different systems such as underfloor heating and heat pumps to make even more and more efficient use of all the produced heat from computations.

I am very happy to be working on a solution that gets both great responses, but also triggers a lot of questions with people! Is there anything you want to know from us? Please write us at hello@nerdalize.com

Find out how you can lower your gas bill with a CloudBox in your house! Watch our video

Winning four out of seven prizes at The Next Web hack battle

The Nerdalize Hack Warriors

Two weeks ago, our “Nerdalize Hack Warriors” rocked at The Next Web hack battle. The theme of this hackathon was IoT - the battle of the sensors, where our Nerds have won four out of the seven prizes! Ad van der Veer, software engineer at Nerdalize, tells a bit more about their idea and their secret of winning this hack battle.

The Nerdalize Hack Warriors

Every team member had a unique expertise and knew its role in the team, which made us the fierce Nerdalize Hack Warriors. Our team was ambitious and had all the expertise which was needed to develop an idea around the theme IoT. Some could write a program in low-level language, others could develop the front-end or had experience with the installation of the sensors. We had a full stack team, which made it possible to create a fully functional product in a short period of time.

Rock-on.space - measuring the mood in bars

Our idea is an app that lists nearby bars and venues on a map and show real time information on what music is playing and gives you an indication of the mood. In one hour, we got in one interested cafe owner for our product. During the final presentation, we even had a working version live at the venue!

We would like to thank the following sponsors for the prizes:

IBM - Using their Bluemix cloud platform effectively

Radix - For our creative domain name: “rock-on.space”

The Things Network - For our brilliant use of the sensors

Toon - For our application for measuring the average mood in bars

Additionally, we got a honourable mention for the grand prize, effectively a second place. Altogether a great event to develop our skills and work with our Nerd team in an inspirational and fun setting. Up to the next Hackathon!

#MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain

Of course it is all over the news today, Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord signed in December 2015 by almost 200 nations.

The agreement is the cornerstone for global cooperation to tackle one of humanity’s greatest challenges, climate change. It was a breakthrough in the joint cooperation of governments that don’t often agree on a specific issue, giving us all the idea that maybe, just maybe we can really fight climate change together.

And even with all the drama around Trump deciding to pull out (while 70% of US citizens actually agree with the Paris Accord) there is good news too.

Many (world) leaders such as Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Paolo Gentiloni, former President Barack Obama and former Governor turned Youtube star Arnold Schwarzenegger have made it clear that they stand behind the agreement and are going to do their part to fight climate change. (Wow, Macron showed how to make that message heard!)

And luckily we, in the Netherlands, Europe but also in the US, don’t have to only rely on politicians to do the right thing. In many ways we as citizens and by now SMEs and even corporates are ahead of policy when it comes to taken measures to reduce our (carbon) footprint. If it means placing solar panels on your roof, looking into electric transportation, or just reducing household waste and energy usage, many of us are looking for ways to contribute.

Nerdalize CloudBox Providing Hot Water
The CloudBox saves CO2 by providing households with server-heat

At Nerdalize the commitment to make heating your home but also cloud computing sustainable is built into our DNA and we work hard on our mission. Importantly we are also not alone in this.

Our energy partner Eneco supplies us with 100% green electricity to run our servers, making us the first climate neutral cloud provider while more than 300 people joined our crowdfunding campaign to roll out our system in the Netherlands. Which meant within 25 hours we decided to up our target to € 500.000 and give a chance to those of you that want to take part in making heating and cloud computing sustainable.

So if you want to give us a hand, you can invest (from 20€!) in our campaign to reach the target of heating 42 homes and invite your friends to take part via our super simple sharing page. (A small tip: By investing you start earning 7% per year on the money you invest & get shares in Nerdalize!)

Let’s show Trump and others how it is done!

#MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain

Comparing our energy efficiency to datacenters using PUE and SPUE

At Nerdalize, we want our energy consumption to be as low as possible, which means it is essential to use our energy efficiently. In order to do so, we find it important to be able to calculate our energy efficiency as accurate as possible. In this blog, you can read about how we are able to calculate our energy efficiency, using the PUE and SPUE score, and how this allows us to compare our own efficiency with other datacenters.

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Dutch company Nerdalize utilises server-heat in innovative heating system

From August onwards the first Dutch households can enjoy a free shower, warmed up by the heat of computer servers. For Nerdalize, this is just the first step in their mission to provide free server-heat to everyone in the Netherlands. They’ve developed a heating system, fed by the residual heat of computer servers, which can save households around 300 euros a year on their heating bills and significantly cuts back on CO2 emissions. In datacenters this residual heat needs to be cooled away, leading to high energy usage. Through the proceeds of a crowdfunding campaign, in which more than 200 people have invested so far, Nerdalize wants to equip the first 42 households with their heating system.

In 2015 Nerdalize ran a test with Eneco, a large Dutch utility, amongst 5 households. Servers were placed in houses for a few months and the server-heat was directly transformed into usable heat via a radiator. This means Nerdalize doesn’t waste energy on cooling servers. Instead, the system uses the energy for the servers twice: once to compute and once to heat water. In the new version, the servers are connected to the central heating system. This way, the heat can be utilised throughout the year for hot water. This setup saves money for households, but also for companies and researchers. As Nerdalize does not need to build an expensive datacenter, companies and researchers can compute for 50% lower costs!

If Boaz Leupe, co-founder of Nerdalize, has his way, data is on the verge of becoming a lot greener. And not a minute too soon: already datacenters emit more CO2 than the global airline industry.

So far, 3500 people have signaled their interest in the heating system and Nerdalize is kicking off to provide the first 42 households with free server-heat. Leupe has already raised €250,000 via the crowdfunding platform Symbid, but now hopes to raise €500,000 in investment. “If we reach our target amount in a month, we can start equipping the first houses with our server-heater from August onwards!” says Boaz Leupe.

Nerdalize’ crowdfunding campaign will run until the end of June.

Nerdalize — Providing cloud services that are almost CO2-neutral

Current datacenters are huge energy wasters. Not only is a lot of energy is spent on the building and infrastructure, computer servers produce a lot of heat, therefore a lot of energy is needed to cool down all the servers in the datacenter. Although datacenters are getting more efficient in their energy use, the increasing cloud market makes that the datacenter industry now emits more CO2 than the aviation industry and this share is only getting larger. That is why we at Nerdalize are working hard on a sustainable alternative to current cloud solutions.

That all sounds pretty great, but what is the actual effect of our approach on the environment? That is what we asked Bas Minnema. During his graduation project for Science, Business & Innovation at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, he made an assessment of the total CO2 emissions in the life cycle of a Nerdalize server-heater.

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Empowering biologists with SeDEx

Data and computations play an increasingly important role in many research fields. From chemistry and physics to economics, a lot of data is being generated these days, and increasingly sophisticated algorithms are being developed to make better use of that data.

Erik Schultes, scientific project lead on FAIR data at the Dutch TechCenter for Life Sciences (DTL), saw the same developments within the field of biology. On the one hand, a lot of data on protein sequence data is already available. On the other hand, over many decades numerous algorithms have been developed that use these data to predict the complex folded structures of proteins. Unfortunately, these two developments, data versus algorithm, remain largely isolated from each other, because biologists are not trained in the necessary computer science skills to put them into practice.

Digital image of a protein

SeDEx, a data platform for biologists without IT training

Large-scale protein structure prediction is still very difficult for the biologist without a lot of IT training. To fill in the knowledge gap between the known protein sequences and the unknown protein structures, Erik came up with the idea for the Sequenomics Data Exchange (SeDEx); a platform to make it easier for biologists to combine all this available data with state-of-the-art algorithms for structure prediction.

With the SeDEx, we need to do a lot of computations. It’s very parallelized but it is a lot. Nerdalize solves this problem for the SeDEx. It makes scalable compute resources easily available to biologists without IT training.

Erik Schultes

Converting protein sequence to structure
SeDEx fills in the knowledge gap between protein sequences and structures

The goal of SeDEx is to help biologists obtain predicted structures by making sequence data, structure prediction software, and compute resources easy to use through a simple graphical user interface. Nerdalize provides the computing power behind the SeDEx, making automatic structure prediction easy and affordable. The SeDEx is also a FAIR publication platform, allowing biologists to easily share their findings with the community. Applications of the SeDEx are found throughout basic research, biomedicine, nanotechnology, and industrial enzyme engineering.

The SeDEx opens a whole new window for the biologist, to the enormous universe of possible protein sequences and structures, even those yet to be discovered by life. A great use for our compute capacity! At Nerdalize we are very enthusiastic to be working together with DTL on making the SeDEx a reality.

Now that our compute jobs are so big, we needed to find a solution. Working together with Nerdalize has been a real breakthrough for us.

Erik Schultes