OCF chosen to provide HPC support for university

HPC, data management, data storage and data analytics provider, OCF, has been chosen by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to provide cluster management support services for its high-performance computing (HPC) system.

OCF provides UCLan with strategic counsel and development of its HPC system in the absence of an in-house HPC manager, due to a shortage in the recruitment market.

Built by OCF in April 2010, the shared HPC system is now used by a multi-disciplinary team of in-house scientists who can access the system via local work stations, compile simulation code in user accounts and, once processed, view the resulting simulation locally. More recently, other PhD students in the physiotherapy and design departments have joined access to the HPC system, and the university is in the process of making the HPC system available across its various departments.

Graham Lee, head of IT infrastructure management at UCLan, said: 'OCF responded quickly to a situation, whereby our previous HPC manager moved on leaving us with a gap in knowledge and skills to manage the HPC system. OCF initially provided an immediate system review and set in place clear SLAs with favourable response times for any service or incident calls. The OCF team now works in collaboration with our in-house IT team and the HPC system can be remotely managed  and is presently returning 98 per cent availability of service.'

Julian Fielden, managing director at OCF, said: 'It Is evident that the shortage of HPC expertise in the market can cause difficult situations for our customers, and we are pleased that we were able to help UCLan and will ensure going forward that our support services continue to deliver a high level of maintenance and advice.  It can sometimes be more beneficial for our customers to use our remote service for cluster management to plug the gap in HPC skills, whether in the education market or corporate sector.'

The HPC system was originally funded entirely by the university without external financial support and was designed, installed and configured by OCF working closely with UClan’s Learning and Information Services team who host the system and provide day-to-day support and monitoring.

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