Breakpoint Solutions has enabled a leading South African university to upgrade its high-performance computing (HPC) cluster to support resource-intensive research. The upgrade gives the university cloud-like agility to support researchers, while simplifying management for the small IT team.
The university’s HPC unit meets the needs of the next generation of researchers by providing compute resources for challenging simulations, experiments and big data analysis. The university has 15-20 researchers using the cluster at any given time, and has served over 500 researchers since 2010 who use massive datasets in their research.
The HPC unit takes care of the installation and distribution of software on the infrastructure and also assists researchers with scripting. However, with a small team to run the unit, and growing demand for access to the resources, the university needed to make management easier, and enable agility and scale.
The university consulted Breakpoint Solutions to implement a solution that supported cloud-like agility on-premise, with minimal user intervention and ease of use.
Craig Dreyer, Technical Account Manager at Breakpoint Solutions, notes that budget is always a key priority within educational institutions: “Breakpoint ensured that all their requirements were addressed within budget, with the added benefit that the solution reduced the workload on the IT team, helping the university optimise its resources.”
Marius van Vuuren, Senior Technical Specialist at Breakpoint, explains that Breakpoint is addressing the university’s needs with a ZFS Storage Appliance with OS Nexus, and a Nutanix HCI appliance to enable agility, scale and ease of use, with HYCU for Nutanix, to support secure backup. Inuvika OVD was also recommended to allow researchers with Linux-only environments to access Windows-based applications with ease.
The solution eases pressure on the IT team, by simplifying management of the environment and making it easy for researchers to provision their own resources, van Vuuren says: “If a researcher needs specific resources to do a job, they can assign their own without too much involvement from IT. It’s easy to use, with a web interface and all the tools they need to set up everything they require.”
The solution is expected to empower researchers to deploy and install their own research environments, without compromising security on the larger HPC.