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transtec launches first HPC cloud project

together with Clausthal University of Technology

transtec and the Clausthal University of Technology have together produced a cloud infrastructure for High Performance Computing (HPC). In future, the Clausthal University of Technology will provide resources to perform technical calculations, primarily with medium to high scale computing requirements for centralised and self-service networks. Isolated resources such as workstations and single compute servers as well as commercially available PCs are currently used in various institutes and faculties for technical calculations. This situation is viewed as unsatisfactory as the workstations used for calculations are not effective for interactive working environments. The disparate distribution of resources can hinder efficiency and result in lower utilisation as it is not possible to work effectively across institutes.

The innovative solution will fulfil 4 key requirements:

  • It will deliver an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with dynamic and automatic deployment of resources for applications with medium to high-scale computing requirements
  • It is an HPC system with the emphasis on performance
  • The entire system should be integrated into the existing data centre infrastructure
  • It is a centralised resource that prioritises ease-of-use and ease-of-administration

The option of accessing external resources when required will also be incorporated, specifically Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or other similar public cloud systems.

The applications used in the research and development faculties at the Clausthal University of Technology are primarily commercial programs, software for the simulation of complex jobs or for the analysis of large data volumes or complex, structured data. Standard program packages such as Abaqus, Moldflow or Ansys are used for simulation tasks. The concept also involves integrating other programs such as Matlab, Mathematica or Maple for interactive use while guaranteeing high-level performance. Packages such as Statistica or SPSS are used for analysis.

The hardware integrated in the transtec solution comprises 24 compute nodes with a total of 384 cores on 12 units and 2.25 TB RAM. The Cloud Management Stack from IBM Platform is used to support the IaaS solution:

  • IBM Platform LSF Express is the foundation of this software solution. It is a workload manager for shared HPC environments and offers a range of features that maximise the utilisation of resources and guarantee optimum system performance.
  • IBM Platform Application Center is the flexible, user-friendly interface. The flexible interface can be adapted to the requirements of single users or user groups. It also delivers integrated support for many commercial applications.
  • IBM Platform Cluster Manager Advanced Edition ensures that the existing infrastructure is available as a service. Virtual and physical computers or entire clusters can be configured and installed into one preconfigured hardware pool, virtualised with KVM.