Freie Universität Berlin Selects ClusterVision to Design New HPC Facility

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The new Intel® Xeon® based cluster will provide a cost-effective and efficient HPC capability to an extended research community at one of Germany’s most prestigious educational institutions

ClusterVision, specialist in high performance compute, storage and database clusters, today announced that the Freie Universität Berlin has selected it’s proposal to design and install a new HPC cluster for their Central Services (ZEDAT). The new Linux-based system, which comprises 238 Intel® Xeon® CPUs (1408 cores), will augment ZEDAT’s existing IBM Power/AIX environment. The new facility will significantly enhance the department’s HPC capability, providing energy efficient and cost-effective computing power to the University’s extended research community. One of the key applications of the system will be CP2K, which is used to perform atomic and molecular level simulations of solid state and liquid biological systems.

Recognised as one of Germany's top tertiary education institutions, the Freie Universität Berlin is a member of Germany’s Elite University group, and was a highly successful participant in the Federal Government’s German Universities Excellence Initiative. ZEDAT offers students and staff a variety of services, including delivering facilities for High Performance Computing, and providing advice, procurement and maintenance of associated scientific software. ZEDAT’s work supports various research groups engaged in the fields of chemistry, physics, meteorology, neuroscience, medicine, biology and economics.

Mr. Torsten Prill, Director of the ZEDAT Data Center, was influential in specifying the requirements of the new system. As a board member of the ZKI (Association of German Data Center Managers R&E), he also addressed the interests of the wider community which it will serve. In explaining their motivation for the new system, Mr. Prill summarises :

“Our primary objective is to expand both the capability and cost-effectiveness of the high performance computing facilities we offer to our scientific community. In addition, we anticipate that improvements in efficiency will, in turn, increase demand for the HPC resources provided at the University.”

As a new partner to the University, ClusterVision undertook an extensive proof of concept, including several proposal alternatives, application benchmarking, and reference introductions to existing operational facilities such as the cluster developed for the Centre for Scientific Computing at the University of Frankfurt.

“The proposal from ClusterVision achieved the maximum score in our tender process, and represents the best price-performance ratio available for our budget. We were impressed by the innovative components proposed and the services framework that ClusterVision offers,” Dr. Boris Proppe, Head of Scientific Computing Services (SCS) at ZEDAT.

The selected design configuration draws upon ClusterVision’s close relationships with partners such as Dell, Intel, Asus, Qlogic, and Bright Computing. The resulting system is a commodity (X86), Linux-based system, comprising 1408 cores (228 hexa-core plus 10 quad-core CPUs), with 119 nodes arranged as 113 compute, 1 login, 2 administration and 3 storage nodes. System connectivity is via a low latency Qlogic InfiniBand network. Storage will be provided as 180 TByte of fast parallel scratch, with an expected aggregate performance of 6GB/s. A further 18 TByte local storage will be included as a failover service. The assembled system is designed to provide energy efficient, cost-effective computing power, and is expected to achieve an HPL (High Performance Linpack) benchmark result of 13 TFLOPs.

As ClusterVision’s software stack of choice, system management will be provided by release 5.2 of Bright Cluster Manager-Advanced Edition, from Bright Computing, with Scientific Linux as a basis. It will also feature FraunhoferFS (FhGFS), the high-performance parallel file system from the Fraunhofer Competence Center for High Performance Computing.

"We are delighted that Freie Universität Berlin/ZEDAT has selected ClusterVision to lead the design and installation of their new HPC cluster. It is our first installation in the capital of Germany, and we proud to work with FU-Berlin, and to be associated with the Excellence Initiative in the circle of elite universities," Jan Heichler, Country Manager Germany, ClusterVision.

About the Freie Universität Berlin
Freie Universität Berlin is a leading research institution. It is one of the German universities successful in all three funding lines in the federal and state Excellence Initiative, thereby receiving additional funding for its institutional future development strategy. This strategy is focused around three strategic centers: for cluster development, for international cooperation, and for graduate studies. Development and assessment of research projects takes place within various focus areas such as area studies, Urban Earth System Studies, or Nanosciences. Freie Universität has various offices, in New York, Beijing, New Delhi, Cairo, and Moscow, which provide a platform for international cooperation.

About ClusterVision
ClusterVision is specialist in the design, implementation and support of small and large-scale HPC computer clusters. Their clustering technology provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional supercomputers by connecting multiple computers to form a unified and powerful system. ClusterVision's team of experts has designed and built some of the largest and most complex computational, storage and database clusters in Europe. With a background in applied scientific research, and practical experience with a wide range of HPC technologies, the team understands customers' requirements and provides tailor-made solutions.

For more information
Dr.Tony Kent, Marketing & PR Manager, ClusterVision
Tel: +44(0)7795 441655


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