ClusterVision Pumps Up Supercomputer Muscles in Brussels

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ClusterVision has announced the successful completion of a new cluster installation project at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). With cluster design, build and service projects already completed at the Université Catholique de Louvain, and the Université de Liège, the new installation at the Université Libre de Bruxelles continues ClusterVision’s recent history of engagement with universities in the Wallonia region, and also its successful partnership with Dell and others.

The new CÉCI cluster to be installed at the ULB had to feature a very high number of cores interconnected with an InfiniBand network and with a well-balanced storage system to allow fast IO response to the CPU load while enabling high capacity expansions,” said Raphael Leplae ULB, Computing Centre, operations/HPC manager. “ClusterVision proposed a unique combination of hardware and software components matching exactly our needs. This new cluster installation will enable researchers requiring HPC solutions, such as earth-level simulations, bioinformatics and other big data-related analysis, to move towards more ambitious projects and/or be more competitive at the international level.”

ClusterVision worked with system engineers at ULB to design and install a combination of HPC technologies from partners including Dell, Supermicro, AMD, Nvidia, Qlogic, GPFS, and Bright Computing. The compute density and performance characteristics are achieved through the addition of 42 Dell PowerEdge M915 Blade Servers, each with four AMD Opteron 6272 CPUs and 256GB of RAM. Selecting the AMD Opteron 6200 series ‘Interlagos’ 16-core processors allowed engineers at ClusterVision to achieve the scaled performance but keeping within the requirements for density and energy efficiency. Additional compute power is provided by two Nvidia Tesla M2090 GPUs, housed in a Supermicro chassis, also with AMD Opteron 6200 processors.

The system incorporates both high- and mid-range storage expansion based on Dell PowerVault. High-range storage is expanded by Dell PowerVault MD3220 with 24x 900GB SAS 10K RPM. The mid-range storage expansion of 40TB is achieved via one Dell PowerVault MD3200 and two Dell PowerVault MD1200 units. Network connectivity is primarily provided by Qlogic Infinipath QLE7340 and Qlogic QLA12200 switches.

To complete the system, ClusterVision included a full software environment, including IBM’s high performance shared file system, GPFS (General Parallel File System) – an innovative solution for non-IBM storage, and Advanced Version licences of Bright Cluster Manager from Bright Computing. Bright Cluster Manager was used for the installed Linux environment, initial provisioning and configuration of the cluster components and is also the base platform for the day-to-day operational management of the system.

This story appears here as part of a cross-publishing agreement with Scientific Computing World.