Pawsey to upgrade cloud as part of centre refresh

Turned to Dell Technologies for the new high throughput cloud infrastructure.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australia's Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has selected Dell Technologies to expand its current cloud system.

The expansion will result in five times more memory, and 25 times more storage.

According to the centre, the new platform will enable researchers to process and analyse large amounts of data through additional object storage and the Kubernetes container orchestrator, and builds on Pawsey's existing container technology for its supercomputing and cloud systems.

Pawsey's acting head of data Mark Gray said the new system will provide scientists with flexibility, accessibility, and speed.

"You can cluster containers, maybe you need to spin up 10 machines, two database services, a web server, five computational nodes, and get them all talking to each other and other HPC facilities at Pawsey," he said.

"With this expansion, you will be able to do it, and automate it -- this is a system where researchers can run their applications wherever they want and whenever they need."

Pawsey said its new compute cloud will support emerging domains such as bioinformatics and space science with its high-performance storage and data throughput.

The new system is built on Dell EMC Power Edge servers, features 58 compute nodes utilising the 2nd Generation AMD EPYC processors supporting up to 14,800 virtual cores, 9 petabytes of Ceph storage, 58 terabytes of RAM -- up to 8GB per core, and 100GB ethernet networking.

Pawsey will call for researcher applications to test the new system during the first quarter 2020 to provide feedback and help evaluate the performance of the new system.

See also: Photos: The world's 25 fastest supercomputers (TechRepublic)

The new compute cloud forms part of the Pawsey centre's AU$70 million capital refresh project.

Just last week the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) put a call out on behalf of the Pawsey centre for a vendor to help it consolidate its existing systems.

Pawsey currently hosts two supercomputers: Magnus, a Cray XC40 supercomputer, which uses a massively parallel architecture consisting of 1,488 individual nodes that are connected by a high-speed network; and Galaxy, a Cray XC30 supercomputer, which is currently being used as a dedicated system for the radio astronomy community.

Magnus was commissioned in 2014 and Galaxy in 2013. It is expected the new single general-purpose supercomputer will boast the capability to handle the workloads of both systems.

The Pawsey centre is an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, and the University of Western Australia.

It currently serves over 1,500 researchers across Australia that are involved in more than 150 supercomputing projects. Nine Australian Research Centres of Excellence also benefit from the Pawsey centre.


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