Opengear helps manage universe history initiative

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Organisers of a project aimed at plotting a complete history of the universe have chosen technology from Opengear to provide secure remote management.

The UK Computational Cosmology Consortium was founded by Professor Stephen Hawking in 1996 in recognition of the need for high-performance computing resources to advance cosmological research and to maintain the UK's leading role in this field. The aim of the Cosmos Consortium is to develop a seamless history of the universe – from the earliest moments after the Big Bang through to the present day.

The Cosmos supercomputer, which is now part of the UK DiRAC HPC facility, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Department of Business, Innovations and Skills, is run by the Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. The Cosmos system has now been operating successfully for 15 years through nine major upgrades in a longstanding collaboration with SGI, increasing the overall system capacity and complexity at every stage.

The Opengear IM4200 series appliance provides out-of-band access to an array of critical infrastructure at the Cosmos site, including network hardware from a variety of vendors, server lights-out IPMI management interfaces and UPS systems, connected via the Opengear’s serial console, USB and Ethernet management ports. This enables technicians to monitor the status of the Cosmos system and perform routine maintenance as well as troubleshooting and problem remediation tasks remotely.

The IM4200 can be equipped with temperature, humidity and other environmental sensors for remote monitoring of physical site conditions. The IM4200 series can also be upgraded with an industrial grade cellular module to use any 3G network to deliver real-time, out-of-band remote access to the site when the primary network link is down.

Andrey Kaliazin, Cosmos system manager, said: 'As we go through the upgrades, compatibility of the management infrastructure with different technologies is critical. The Opengear technology offered the most compatibility with network and power elements within our data centre, and the open nature of the device means we can integrate it into our existing monitoring systems.'