Renewable Energy Leader Selects ClusterVision for Dell HPC Integration Services

ClusterVision has recently completed the integration and management environment of a new HPC compute cluster at EMD International A/S, a world leader in commercial software development and consultancy solutions for renewable energy production.
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Nov. 27, 2012 - PRLog -- ClusterVision, Europe’s dedicated specialist in high performance computing solutions, has announced the successful installation of a high-performance compute cluster at EMD International A/S, one of the world’s leading providers of software and research consultancy to the renewable energy market. The completion of the cluster is the result of a successful partnership between tier-1 system provider Dell, who supplied the server, storage and interconnect components, and ClusterVision who provided the specialist on-site integration, cluster management environment and on-going support services. The cluster will be used to develop and run commercial software applications and to manage an extensive database of research information.  

EMD International is a leading software and knowledge centre serving organisations involved in the planning, production and distribution of wind and other renewable energy sources. Founded in 1986 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Energi- og Miljødata, it has worldwide business interests both in commercial software development and in the provision of research and consultancy services to the energy sector. With headquarters in Aalborg, Denmark, EMD International has regional offices in Germany, France, Spain, UK, USA, the Middle-East and China.

EMD International’s two main software offerings, WindPRO and energyPRO, are used by project developers, consultants, and manufacturers in the design, planning and documentation of environmentally friendly energy projects. With over 1800 users, WindPRO is the world’s most widely used software package for the planning and design of commercial wind farm installations. By way of compliment, energyPRO, provides technical and economic analyses of complex energy products, allowing users to create optimal plant configurations based on local tariff and consumer conditions. energyPRO can be applied to a wide range of commercial renewable energy scenarios, including biomass conversion, geothermal recovery, and solar and photo-voltaic production.

EMD International also offers research and consultancy services to the energy community, using market and development data to provide feasibility assessments, program design and financial diligence. Its findings are used as a source of expert reference to a range of cross-national organisations including the European Union, the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank.  

Like many commercial organisations involved in high intensity calculation and data-centric modelling, EMD International’s compute requirements are well suited to a cluster architecture solution. HPC specialists at EMD International evaluated proposals from three different providers before ultimately selecting a cluster partnership solution comprising server, storage and interconnect components from Dell, together with professional integration services, cluster management software, and post-delivery training and support from ClusterVision.

"By integrating the high performance cluster infrastructure with consultancy and software services for our wind energy community, we have taken a firm step towards reducing the uncertainties for wind energy flow modelling as a whole - in particular in mountainous terrains. We have already proven that the computational capacity of the cluster makes it possible to provide an even more accurate estimate of the wind energy yield in these challenging terrains. We are very excited soon to be able to offer this service to our end-users world-wide. ", Morten Lybech Thøgersen, Department Manager - Wind Energy,  EMD International.

"The installation and initial integration of the cluster has run very smoothly, and was completed in less than one week time. In our project schedule we had expected this task to last much longer, so by selecting a joint Dell - ClusterVision solution, we have been able to focus our efforts in developing our new software services and linking it into our existing infrastructure", Thorkild Guldager Sørensen, Software Developer and HPC System Administrator, EMD International.

As dedicated HPC specialists, experienced in delivering cluster solutions, ClusterVision frequently work with tier-1 systems partners, such as Dell, to provide high quality cluster integration and support services. This ensures that customers receive a high quality assembly, together with configuration and performance tuning which is tailored to their own specific needs. In addition to the hardware components, ClusterVision is also able to supply, install and support a range of software components, including Linux-based scientific environments, development utilities and cluster management solutions such as Bright Cluster Manager from Bright Computing.    

The Dell server, networking and storage technology supplied for the EMD International cluster comprises 2 head-nodes in fail-over configuration, based on Dell HPC NSS architecture, and 48 compute nodes arranged as 12, 4-node, Dell PowerEdge C6220 rack servers. Built using the Intel© Xeon™ E5-2600 processor, the Dell PowerEdge C6220 is a compact 2U rack chassis designed for high-volume scientific and graphical processing applications. Storage and network communications were provided by Dell’s PowerVault MD3220 high performance shared storage, and Intel/Qlogic QDR InfiniBand delivering up to 40 Gb/s usable bandwidth and the low latency needed for this kind of applications.

ClusterVision worked on-site alongside EMD International to manage the complex process of assembly and configuration of the delivered hardware components. The build process included racking of the Dell servers and storage components, and installing the 50 Bright Cluster Manager software licences used to configure and provide the onward management of the assembled system. The system set-up included fail-over configuration yunja of the head-nodes, and installation of the storage components and InfiniBand fast interconnect. ClusterVision were also able to provide assistance to EMD International with the installation and testing their software applications. Originally anticipated as 1 week, this activity was successfully completed in just 2 hours.    

The completed system was acceptance tested by running a high-performance LinPack benchmark across all nodes in the cluster, and by assessing typical application performance. The results showed an impressive improvement in through-put, with a reduction in execution time of the chosen application from 70 hours to just 30 minutes on the new system.

As part of the on-site hand-over process ClusterVision provided training to EMD International’s System Administrators, covering operational aspects such as boot-up, power-down and restart, and essential aspects of cluster management including health monitoring, scheduling and user management. ClusterVision will also provide a 3 year program of support and maintenance, delivering a first level central point of contact to EMD International for all of its operational management activities.

“ClusterVision has an established history of complimentary partnership with Dell, successfully collaborating on a number of high-profile cluster installations throughout Europe and the Middle-East,” said Christopher Huggins, Commercial Director at ClusterVision. “Through our tier-1 partnerships, such as the current engagement with Dell, we are able to provide our joint customers with a high quality cluster installation process, personalised to their own individual needs, and the confidence of an on-going program of professional management and support.”

Christopher Huggins continues. “The provision of professional services is a natural extension of our core expertise, enabling us to deliver value to both our end customers and our Technology Partners. Services are an increasingly important part of our solution offering - we have recently introduced a system of pre-paid service credits, which now allow our customers a flexible and open ended customisation of our service offerings. Service Credits can be used to access a range of service work packages, for example extending  existing support and training provisions, and accessing innovative management solutions such as our 24/7 remote system administration.”
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