UEA deploys improved management software for doubled computing capacity

University extends usage of HPC

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is aiming to improve its high performance computing (HPC) architecture with new management software after more than doubling capacity.

The university's Climactic Research Unit (CRU) has been at the forefront of environmental research on climate change since being founded in 1972.

The university wanted to extend usage of its HPC system beyond the scientific disciplines to support research needs within the rest of the university, such as social sciences, arts and humanities. It also required a system that was faster, easier to manage and which provided more power.

UEA brought in systems integrator Viglen. UEA said it needed a system that provided it with more intelligence and features than the Sun Grid Engine and Cluster Vision systems it already had in place.

Viglen deployed Platform Computing's HPC management software to support UEA more than doubling its HPC core capacity from 900 to more than 2,000 cores to meet its needs.

Platform's system offers advanced cluster management and scheduling, lowering the administration burden on the IT department.

Chris Collins, head of research and specialist computing support at UEA, said the university was migrating new users on to the system all the time. He said: "We use Platform MPI (included in the Platform HPC system) for migrations, since transferring and linking applications can be a tedious process.

"Before, we had to differentiate what nodes applications could run on. Now we can run on both Ethernet and Infiniband networks, make a request for an application, and easily link it to Platform MPI."

Collins said the web interface in Platform HPC was another factor in choosing it. "With the challenge of getting non-HPC users to use the system we could allow them to use the web front-end instead of using the command line interface," he said. "We don't have to do as much work when releasing a new application or do as much new coding."

With the support of Platform HPC UEA has more than doubled its computing power, going from a capacity of 9 teraflops to 21.5 teraflops in just a few months.

Last year, the Information Commissioner's Office published guidance on freedom of information legislation and potentially valuable research information for the higher education sector, after the "Climategate" controversy which UEA became embroiled in.

The guidance was issued following recommendations made in the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on the disclosure of data about climate change involving UEA.

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