It has taken time and a lot of changes in the industry, but HPC in the cloud might actually be something that can work not just technically, but as a business model that is reasonable and sustainable.
This was not the case when Joris Poort and Adam McKenzie were engineers at Boeing, designing the wing of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It is hard to believe, but at the time Boeing did not have enough capacity on its internal clusters to do the job fast, so over one weekend Poort and McKenzie scrounged thousands of servers from inside Boeing and did the wing design across them. With the modified wing design, Poort and McKenzie saved 150 pounds of weight from the wing, which may not sound like a lot on a plane that weighs 775,000 pounds empty. But that small weight change translated into $180 million in savings for the operators of the expected 787 Dreamliner fleet over the lifetime of the aircraft. The neat bit is that the design work to accomplish this would have taken three months on the in-house Boeing clusters, and the engineers did this in under 24 hours.