HPC Containerization and Virtualization Software

HPC Containerization and Virtualization software are vital, modern-day approaches to reducing engineering costs, improving scalability, and simplifying the deployment of HPC software across multiple machines and platforms. While they accomplish similar functions, how can you tell which one is appropriate for your HPC data center?

Our team of experienced engineers stands at the ready to help your team maximize the efficiency of your hardware by strategically leveraging the right mix of software. Prepare your HPC data center for hyperscale and significantly reduce time to insights by contacting Aspen Systems Inc. today.

What is Containerization Software?

HPC containerization software allows for creating and managing highly portable, encapsulated containers in HPC environments.

More specifically, containerization is a software deployment approach that bundles an application’s code with all the libraries, frameworks, files, etc. that it needs to run on any infrastructure. In HPC, containerization can package and deploy complex scientific and engineering applications, libraries, and dependencies in a consistent and portable way.

Benefits of Containerization Software

There are several benefits of using High-Performance Computing (HPC) Containerization Software:

  • Portability: Containers are lightweight and portable, making it easy to move HPC applications between different clusters or cloud environments.
  • Consistency: Containers provide a consistent runtime environment for HPC applications, eliminating the need for manual installation and configuration of HPC software.
  • Reproducibility: Containers allow for easy reproduction of HPC simulations, ensuring that results can be easily replicated across different environments.
  • Scalability: HPC Containerization Software often includes features for container orchestration and resource management, allowing users to scale their HPC applications.
  • Ease of deployment: Containers can be easily deployed on a cluster or cloud environment, greatly simplifying the deployment process for HPC applications.
  • Improved security: Containers provide an additional layer of security by isolating the application from the host operating system and other containers, reducing the risk of security breaches.
  • Cost-effective: Containerization can help to optimize the use of resources and may reduce the need for additional hardware, which can help to reduce costs.
  • Integration with existing infrastructure: HPC Containerization software can be integrated with existing HPC infrastructure and cluster schedulers, such as SLURM, torque, etc.

Overall, HPC Containerization Software can help to improve the reproducibility, scalability, and ease of deployment of HPC applications while reducing costs and improving security.

Our Recommended Containerization Software for HPC

aspen apptainer containerization


Apptainer/Singularity is the most widely used container system for HPC. It is designed to execute applications at bare-metal performance while being secure, portable, and 100% reproducible.

aspen singularity container


Singularity is an open-source HPC containerization software that is widely used in scientific and research communities. It is designed specifically for HPC and supports a wide range of Linux distributions.

aspen shifter containerization


Shifter is container engine alternative to Docker. Shifter works by converting Docker images to a common format that can then be distributed and launched on HPC systems.

aspen docker containerization


Docker is a widely used containerization platform that is also suitable for HPC use cases (with configuration). It provides a wide range of features and tools for managing and scaling HPC containers.

aspen kubernetes containerization


Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system that can be used for managing HPC containers. It provides advanced features for scaling, load balancing, and automatic failover.

*Please note that some of the software listed above may not be developed specifically for HPC and are not optimized for the same, but are widely used in HPC community. We recommend speaking with an Aspen Systems Inc. engineer before making a decision.

Containerization Vs Virtualization Software

HPC Containerization Software and Virtualization Software are both solutions for deploying and running multiple applications on a single server, but they work differently.

Containerization is a lightweight and efficient way to package and run applications. Containers are isolated from each other and from the host operating system but share the same kernel. This means that containers are lightweight and fast, as they don’t require a separate operating system for each container.

On the other hand, virtualization creates a virtual environment on top of the host operating system, and each virtual machine (VM) runs its own operating system. This allows for complete isolation between VMs, but comes at the cost of increased resource usage, as each VM requires its own operating system.

In summary, containerization is more lightweight and efficient, while virtualization provides a higher level of isolation. HPC Containerization Software and Virtualization software are both suitable solutions for running multiple applications on a single physical machine, but the choice between them depends on the specific use case and requirements of the HPC application.

What is HPC Virtualization Software?

Virtualization software allows for a single computer/server to run multiple virtual machines.

HPC virtualization software refers to software that enables virtualization for high performance computing (HPC) environments, allowing multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical HPC server or cluster. The purpose of HPC virtualization is to improve resource utilization, increase flexibility, and provide an isolated and secure environment for HPC applications and workloads.

Benefits of Virtualization Software

The benefits of using HPC virtualization software include:

  • Improved Resource Utilization: HPC virtualization software allows multiple virtual HPC environments to run on a single physical HPC cluster, improving the utilization of available resources.
  • Increased Flexibility: HPC virtualization provides a flexible and scalable environment, allowing users to quickly provision, configure, and deploy HPC resources as needed.
  • Isolation and Security: Virtualized HPC environments provide isolated and secure environments for HPC applications and workloads, reducing the risk of interference and data breaches.
  • Cost Savings: By improving resource utilization and reducing hardware costs, HPC virtualization software can help lower the overall costs of an HPC environment.
  • Improved Testing and Development: HPC virtualization software provides an isolated environment for testing and development, allowing developers to test and debug HPC applications in a controlled environment.
  • Easy Management and Maintenance: HPC virtualization software provides a centralized management and maintenance environment, making it easier to manage, monitor, and maintain virtual HPC systems.

Our Recommended Virtualization Software for HPC

aspen vmware virtualization

VMware vSphere

A widely-used virtualization platform for enterprise IT, vSphere provides a robust and flexible virtualization solution for HPC environments.

aspen openstack virtualization


An open-source cloud computing platform that provides a scalable and flexible virtualization solution for HPC environments.

aspen microsoft hyper-v virtualization

Microsoft Hyper-V

Microsoft’s virtualization platform provides a cost-effective and scalable virtualization solution for HPC environments.

aspen xen virtualization


An open-source virtualization platform that provides a scalable and flexible virtualization solution for HPC environments.

aspen kvm virtualization

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine)

An open-source virtualization platform that provides a scalable and flexible virtualization solution for HPC environments, and is tightly integrated with the Linux operating system.

aspen proxmox virtualization

Proxmox VE

Proxmox VE is a complete open-source platform for enterprise virtualization. With the built-in web interface you can easily manage VMs and containers, software-defined storage and networking, high-availability clustering, and multiple out-of-the-box tools on a single solution.