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The Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure adopts Bright Cluster Manager

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Bright Computing, a provider of Linux cluster automation and management software for HPC and machine learning, announced that The Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI), an asset owned by the Louisiana Board of Regents, has modernised its do-it-yourself (DIY) high-performance computing (HPC) cluster management infrastructure. LONI is now leveraging the full-featured Bright Cluster Manager software platform to provide consistency, ease-of-use, and the ability to easily extend resources to the cloud.

LONI is a high-performance computing and high capacity middle-mile fiber optic network provider for higher education and research entities in Louisiana. The technology assets include a 1,674 mile-long system of fiber optics cables that provides subscribers with private and public cloud access at an improved level of service over a typical service provider and enhanced support for digital activities for teaching, learning, and administrative functions. 

The HPC service allows researchers to conduct and store highly complex experiments using compute powers specialised for highly intensive computational processing. This HPC service provided by LONI enables greater collaboration on research that produces results faster and with greater accuracy.  The HPC cluster, which now features Bright Cluster Manager, continues to support advanced engineering and scientific research activities from more than a dozen research institutions across Louisiana. This includes Louisiana State University (LSU), Louisiana Tech University, LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Southern University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and University of New Orleans, among others.

To better support advanced engineering and scientific research activities, members of the LONI Management Council and LONI Network Operations Center staff at LSU chose Bright Cluster Manager to provide management of LONI's HPC cluster. 

‘LONI had previously used a homegrown cluster management system that presented a myriad of challenges including lack of a graphical user interface (GUI), daunting complexity for new employees, and proneness to out-of-sync changes and configurations,’ said LONI Executive Director, Lonnie Leger. ‘Likewise, the do-it-yourself infrastructure we had placed constraints on end-users due to a lack of knowledge continuity concerning cluster health, performance, and capability. By leveraging a commercial solution such as Bright Cluster Manager, we now have an enterprise-grade cluster management solution that embodies the required skills and expertise needed to effectively manage our HPC environment.’

The decision to utilise a commercial cluster management solution was also based on a desire to diversify the services offered by LONI. With a homegrown system, expansion wasn't impossible, but incredibly demanding, as personnel and HPC expertise is limited. With challenges including the interdependency between hardware and software, dealing with hardware failures, and keeping up with a constant demand for changes, a commercially supported software solution became even more important. One of these services they wished to explore was the possibility of deploying HPC services to the cloud. With Bright Cluster Manager, OpenStack management is easy to deploy, provision, and manage―allowing users to build a robust private cloud, reliably, with the resources they already have.

LONI is moving to offer web-based HPC services to numerous Louisiana-based institutions and schools that play a role in securing academic funding and grants from the US government. These grants allow the schools to complete important research that directly affects the citizens of Louisiana. With Bright Cluster Manager, researchers now have a solution that will better facilitate research on important regional issues.

‘We are thrilled to have converted another do-it-yourselfer to Bright Cluster Manager. The benefits of using a commercial platform far outweigh any perceived cost savings.  A more friendly user interface means more researchers can interact easily with the HPC environment. Bright Cluster Manager has a downstream benefit to end-users, enabling them to more quickly and easily achieve their desired research results, thus increasing productivity,’ said Dan Kuczkowski, senior vice president of worldwide sales.

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