Boise State University Reduces HPC Cluster Operating Costs with Bright Cluster Manager

University found Bright Cluster Manager to be less expensive than open source HPC cluster management tool-kits
Sept. 20, 2012 - PRLog -- Bright Computing announced today that Boise State University researchers selected Bright Cluster Manager® for their collaboration research cluster R1, a powerful computer system that drives interdisciplinary computational research. Boise State University research projects span chemistry, biology, physics and pharmacology, with particular emphasis on advancing novel methods in molecular targeted therapeutics for cancer research. Bright Cluster Manager is being used for provisioning, job scheduling, monitoring and cluster management, and was selected over open source toolkits previously used at the university.

Boise State University’s cluster is powered by 292 AMD Opteron CPU cores on dual-socket superMicro motherboards and 32 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs, providing up to 32,960 TFlops/sec of processing power. One of R1’s unique outputs — which Ken Blair, HPC Systems Engineer at Boise State is exploring — is the ability to display very high-resolution images across parallel display panels, making its complex simulations come alive.

“In the past, I’ve tasked graduate students with cluster management using open source toolkits,” said Blair. “This approach was low cost, but time consuming on my part, and somewhat risky. At Boise State, we don’t have the bandwidth to write scripts for node installation, synchronization or for ongoing cluster maintenance — which are extremely time-intensive tasks. Bright makes tackling these tasks fast and easy, and lets us automate a lot of important but tedious procedures.”

“Bright cuts my own workload by 50%,” Blair added, “and pays for itself over and over in terms of headcount savings.”

The cluster at Boise State has an added layer of complexity: the system is located behind a federal firewall at the Idaho National Laboratory — a leading nuclear research and development facility for the U.S. Department of Energy. Accessing the cluster directly is impossible on a day-to-day basis, creating the potential to kill productivity when nodes aren’t working properly, or crash unexpectedly. Boise State University researchers need a way to quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues remotely.

“At one point, several of our nodes were rebooting for no apparent reason,” said Blair. “Bright’s support team advised me on how to secure shell (SSH) tunnel via web browser into our cluster. Within a very short period of time, our cluster was up and running again, and a situation that could have presented a major issue was averted. Bright’s responsive team is unparalleled in terms of their around-the-clock accessibility and problem-solving abilities.”

About Boise State University
Boise State University is committed to fostering an environment where exceptional research and creative activity thrive. The university has well developed and productive research programs in such diverse areas as sensor development, bio-molecular research, novel materials, health kony and public policy, geochemistry and geophysics, raptor studies, high-tech economic development, nano-electronics and integrated systems, and school improvement in math and sciences. Boise State faculty conduct externally funded studies in Idaho and around the globe. Their research contributes to addressing some of the major health, environmental, technological and social issues of the day.

About Bright Computing
Bright Computing is a specialist in cluster management software and services for high-performance computing (HPC). Its flagship product — Bright Cluster Manager — with its intuitive graphical user interface and powerful cluster management shell, makes clusters of any size easy to install, use and manage, including systems combining Intel/AMD processors with GPGPU technology. Bright's minimal footprint enables HPC systems to be utilized to their maximum potential, from departmental clusters to large-scale systems. Bright Cluster Manager is the management solution of choice for many research institutes, universities, and companies across the world, including several Top500 installations. Bright Cluster Manager is an official Intel Cluster Ready component and fully complies with the Intel® Cluster Ready specification.
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