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June 12, 2012

UK’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory deploys Gnodal GS-Series switches

The HPC facility will enhance RAL’s global climate research capabilities

By CBR Staff Writer

UK government’s principal lab, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) has deployed a Gnodal GS-Series switches utilising the Gnodal Ethernet Fabric to support a new high performance computing (HPC) facility.

The HPC facility benefits from a 10 gigabit network that supports a parallel Panasas storage system and a virtualised computational system, which is being used by scientists for Earth observation and climate modelling.

The facility uses a high performance ethernet network to support a new high performance computing (HPC) that has 4.5 petabytes of storage online.

Gnodal has deployed four GS4008 systems at RAL, comprising a total of 160 10GbE Edge ports and 32 40Gbps Gnodal Fabric ports in a single spanning system.

Gnodal GS-Series switches are deployed as follows: 4 x GS4008 systems are deployed at RAL comprising a total of 160 10GbE Edge ports and 32 40Gbps Gnodal Fabric ports in a single spanning system; single GS4008 switches are deployed at University of Reading, University of Leeds, and a fourth site, the International Space and Innovation Centre (ISIC).

National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) Models and Data director and University of Reading Weather and Climate Computing professor Bryan Lawrence said the Gnodal Ethernet sub-system establishes the core network for the HPC facility providing access to multiple storage sub-systems at scale, and the direct and parallel access to the storage pool.

"The Gnodal solution, in conjunction with other technologies, gives us powerful HPC capabilities to help leverage our massive datasets to advance essential scientific discovery," said Lawrence.

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STFC Service Delivery manager Peter Oliver said the council chose Gnodal because it didn’t want an IP-based network, which would have introduced delays and latency.

"This would have decreased the performance of the parallel storage," said Oliver.

The project was funded through the 2011 investment of £145m in e-infrastructure by the UK government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

RAL is now also looking to expand the network and working with Gnodal to provide a solution that will avoid further cabling underground.

Jonathan Churchill of UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said we are working with Gnodal to add more compute servers to the infrastructure.

"At the moment we have lots of data nodes, but the scientists need more compute infrastructure to do thorough analysis,"Churchill said.

"We are essentially looking at adding another Gnodal switch, which will give us access to an additional 40 ports, so an additional 20 servers."

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