More core business in Britain
OCF, a company based in Sheffield UK which specialises in data processing, data management and data storage, has massively expanded its HPC on-demand service, enCORE. It can now deliver up to 8,000 cores of processing power to a wide range of businesses in the UK and beyond.
The expansion results from an agreement between OCF and the Hartree Centre operated by the UK Government’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The Centre was launched in 2012, in partnership with IBM and with a £37.5 million investment by the UK government.
The enCORE service will use additional processing power from The Hartree Centre’s ‘Blue Wonder, an IBM System X iDataPlex cluster comprising 8,192 Intel Xeon E5-2670 processor cores. Tests show that the Blue Wonder iDataPlex cluster can achieve 206.3 TFlops. Its 48 TB shared memory capacity also makes it the largest shared memory cluster in the UK. BlueWonder was installed and configured by OCF in partnership with IBM.
First launched in November 2010, the enCORE service was the first in the UK to operate with a commercial organisation harnessing available processing power from academic and research-based high-performance server clusters. The service has since been used successfully by firms such as Engys, Actiflow, CVIS, BHR and Renuda to meet on-going and temporary ‘burst’ requirements for additional processing power.
‘enCORE has enabled our clients to re-evaluate their HPC computing strategy. Ease of use, exceptional technical support, scalability and price/performance have been key factors in them deciding to use an off-premise HPC cluster. We’ve seen this service directly lead to firms winning contracts they could not otherwise have delivered,’ said Jerry Dixon, HPC on-demand business development manager, OCF. ‘Our expansion of the enCORE service will now enable larger businesses with significant and complex HPC workloads to utilise this flexible facility, and to deliver tangible business benefits.’
Dr David Kelsall, senior consultant at fluid engineering consultancy, BHR Group noted: ‘OCF’s enCORE service has enabled us to cope with peaks in demand for capacity when we are undertaking simultaneous consultancy and research projects. We derive a lot of comfort that OCF is providing a UK based ‘cloud service’, so we know exactly where our data is processed. It is a very easy service to use, with an uncomplicated and simple structure that doesn’t require any previous HPC knowledge to operate.’