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Interview: Transtec Solutions for HPC and Big Data Workflows

The choice of software and hardware are obviously essential to any High Performance Computing environment. Transtec understands and tackles this with an all-encompassing approach to solutions that optimize HPC production. To learn more, we caught up with Dr. Oliver Tennert, Director Technology Management and HPC Solutions at Transtec.

insideHPC: Can you describe Transtec’s technology for the HPC world?

Oliver Tennert

Oliver Tennert: Transtec has been a provider of HPC solutions for about 15 years by now. In fact, when Transtec started in 1980, we strongly focused on high-end workstations for the technical and scientific computing. Through the choice of technology partnerships with other specialists we engage in, HPC customers get access to leading HPC technology, all from one source.

For example, we have technical expertise in all commonly used parallel filesystems technologies, open-source as well as commercial ones, with a large installed base for each one, and thus are able to provide customers with profound consulting as to which technology he or she should turn to for his project.

Also, Transtec has always been focusing on really understanding customers’ needs, mapping these to technical requirements, and thus being able to provide a solution that optimizes workflows and customers’ productivity. It’s not the individual products or components themselves where we put the stress on, it’s the total solution that best matches into the customer’s productive environment.

insideHPC: One of your tag lines is “Accelerating Productivity,” which I’m sure has broad appeal. Who are your customers?

Oliver Tennert: Although the better part of our customer base is still academic – Transtec has thousands of university and other academic customers throughout Europe – a strong focus is on industrial customers from e.g. Engineering, Life Sciences and Finance. And it is especially they who are most interested in utilizing their HPC systems as effectively as possible, while minimizing the efforts needed for management and maintenance. This is why Transtec, by our choice of hardware and software technology components, puts a strong focus on ease of management.

Transtec takes pain to hide the complexity of an HPC solution underneath a clean and easily usable management abstraction layer.

insideHPC: The technologies in Big Data and HPC seem to go hand-in-hand. How does Transtec handle the merging of these technologies?

Oliver Tennert: In fact, HPC and Big Data have always been tightly connected, as the handling and analysis of mostly unstructured large data sets has been part of the workflow for a long time. For example, in genome analytics, searching through and transferring around of large amounts of data is quite as common as the problem of post-processing CAE simulation results on local workstations.

Transtec offers on one hand HPC storage solutions for meeting highest requirements regarding capacity and bandwidth, as well as remote visualization concepts from leading-edge technology developers. This way, customers are enabled to analyze Big Data where they actually have been created: in the data centre, thereby reducing data transfer, smoothing workflows, and in the end reducing costs.

insideHPC: Transtec announced a partnership with Fujitsu recently. How did this come about and what does it mean to the respective companies?

Oliver Tennert: Transtec has always been interested in entering into partnerships with dedicated HPC companies that contribute to our ecosystem and help our customers to access innovative hardware and software technology. By partnering with Fujitsu, Transtec is able to offer a more comprehensive HPC solution proposition that combines Transtec’s in-depth knowledge of HPC with Fujitsu’s breadth of support and account infrastructure. Our partnership with Fujitsu will benefit both companies’ customer bases because it will allow us to offer even greater flexibility and just the right solutions that suit each customer’s needs.

insideHPC: ISC’14 will be here before you know it. Can you tell us what your company may have in store for the big show?

Oliver Tennert: We will address several topics, and are still discussing internally which ones to focus on. But one of the hottest topics we see that have been discussed for a while in industrial HPC especially is remote visualization for post-processing simulation results. One big issue in traditional workflows in technical and scientific computing is the transfer of large amounts of data from where these have been created to where they are analyzed. Streamlining this workflow by processing where the data have been created in the first place is tantamount to shorten the wall-clock time it takes end users to get final results. At the same time, hardware utilization is greatly enhanced by using innovative technology for remote 3D visualization. For this, we have long since entered into a strategic partnership with NICE. At our booth, we will show a demo that gives some impressions of what the DCV technology is capable of.

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