Interview: MEGWARE Gears up for ISC High Performance

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Megware team. From left to right: A. Singer (Project Manager), S. Eckerscham (Managing Director), J. Gretzschel (Managing Director), J. Heydemüller (Representative).

Megware team. From left to right: A. Singer (Project Manager), S. Eckerscham (Managing Director), J. Gretzschel (Managing Director), J. Heydemüller (Representative).

MEGWARE in Germany celebrated its 25th anniversary in February. With the company in the midst of a big cluster deployment at CERN, we caught up Jörg Heydemüller from MEGWARE to learn what they have in store for the upcoming ISC High Performance conference in July.

insideHPC: MEGWARE recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. How has the company been so successful for so long in a market as competitive as HPC?

Jörg Heydemüller: The concept behind MEGWARE’s success is based on various pillars to which the founders of the company and its employees have time remained consistently faithful. As a company, MEGWARE does not focus solely on HPC. MEGWARE unites the strengths of around 50 excellently trained, highly motivated staff members acting in the interests of success according to the Kennedy principle. The primary focus here is not on what the company can do for the individual employees in order to be successful, but instead on how each staff member can recognise what needs to be done to ensure success of the company as a whole.

Our customers place varied demands that change constantly. This calls on our employees to think ahead, to promote innovation and to show willingness to strike out along new and unfamiliar paths. We use our commitment and many years of project experience to time and again test the limits of the technically feasible, consistently developing new key technologies for high-performance computers.

MEGWARE has implemented progressive ideas and designed projects that have made the company a powerful and inspirational driver within the HPC industry, responsible for a large number of outstanding in-house developments within the fields of hard and software. For a quarter-century now, the company has developed innovative products, including chassis, PDUs, direct liquid cooling on the chip or management software for clustering applications. The art of German engineering based on highly qualified and long-standing staff members in the area of high performance computing protects the company against dependence on suppliers and therefore against excessive transparency in dealings with other market actors, also.

MEGWARE has experienced strong growth in recent years, and has succeeded in substantially expanding its market position in Europe. We will install our 1000th high-performance computer in the near future. You will find out where this will be at the next MEGWARE HPC User Meeting on May 7 in Chemnitz.

insideHPC: Can you tell us about your most recent HPC deployments?

logoJörg Heydemüller: MEGWARE GmbH delivers its high-performance computers Europe-wide to research institutes and universities as well as industrial and commercial customers. 70 percent of the HPC installations are in the public sector, in areas including physics, mathematics and biochemistry as well as climate and genetic research.

The majority of MEGWARE’s industrial customers are active in the automotive sector, where they require aerodynamic, noise and crash simulations. Other companies are at home in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Many of the completed projects are among the top systems in their respective countries and reach outstanding positions in the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful HPC systems. Just recently we completed one of our largest projects. MEGWARE delivered approximately 3000 server systems to CERN by the end of March 2015.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research into the underlying physical principles of our world. Researchers at CERN probe the fundamental structure of the universe, investigating the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide at close to the speed of light. This involves a staggering technical effort to manufacturer and operate the systems, and places extreme requirements in the data analysis tasks that the computers are asked to perform. The newly installed MEGWARE computing clusters consist of a total of 2,828 nodes. The servers are equipped with the latest Intel Haswell processors, providing nearly 55,000 cores. The expected processing power is approximately 2,154 Teraflops of theoretical peak CPU performance.

insideHPC: What is your toughest challenge with new customers in the HPC space?

Jörg Heydemüller: By its nature, HPC is not a rapid-fire business that can be compiled within a catalogue. Developing high-performance computers requires the satisfaction of many different criteria and extensive testing by highly qualified engineers. No two supercomputers are alike. The immense diversity of requirements repeatedly calls for different technologies and a truly creative approach on the part of the employees involved. The technology used on the basis of benchmark results must be as powerful as possible in terms of its computing speed and energy efficiency. This is the Champions League within the HPC business. MEGWARE possesses the experience and expertise to satisfy these requirements.

insideHPC: How important is service to your customers in Europe and how do you stand out in this area?

Jörg Heydemüller: As a full-size provider, MEGWARE acts as a one-stop solution and therefore handles all aspects relating to the maintenance of installed systems. In some cases our engineers will visit the customer premises to provide direct servicing. In the best case scenario, however, MEGWARE uses remote systems or replacement hardware to manage all service deployments throughout Europe from its Service Centre in Chemnitz. We also collaborate with partner firms, for instance in Scandinavia, to accommodate exceptional situations.

Quality of service is a crucial aspect in the reputation of any company. There is no doubt that HPC systems costing several million euros can experience problems. But we are judged by the manner in which we solve each problem. We recognized this aspect years ago, and have operated successfully on this basis since then.

ISC-EventinsideHPC: What will you be showcasing in your exhibit at ISC?

Jörg Heydemüller: MEGWARE installed the world’s first hot-water cooled supercomputer called CoolMUC at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center in Garching in 2011/12. Here, the processors and chipset within the nodes are cooled directly at a temperature in excess of 50 °C.

MEGWARE has optimized and continued the development of this technology based on our new SlideSX-LC (Liquid Cooling) chassis. Just days ago we were awarded a contract by a German university. We will install the HPC system on the basis of the new version and present the project in Frankfurt on time for ISC’15.

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