Gompute harnesses sophisticated IBM high performance computing

Driving complex simulations within the cloud

Published on 03-Apr-2012

Validated on 01 Oct 2013

Customer:
Gompute

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Sweden

Solution:
IGF, Technical Computing, Cloud Computing, Enabling Business Flexibility, Energy Efficiency, Information Infrastructure, Linux, Optimizing IT

Overview

Owned and operated by Swedish systems integrator Gridcore AB, Gompute on Demand delivers high-performance computing (HPC) resources on demand for technical and scientific users. The company offers support for most of the commercial and free applications used to simulate fluid dynamics, stress analysis, computational chemistry and visualization. Gompute also provides specialized training for its users, enabling them to get maximum benefit from the HPC resources available.

Business need:
Gompute provides high-performance computing services for a remarkable range of customers, who run complex and workload-intensive simulations involving huge amounts of data. To attract new customers and retain existing ones, Gompute continually strives to find ways to boost performance, which helps customers to stay ahead of competitors with faster, more detailed simulations, while keeping costs low.

Solution:
Gompute created a cluster based on 336 IBM System x® iDataPlex® dx360 M3 nodes, with IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger water cooling and Qlogic True Scale QDR Infiniband switches and Interconnect to deliver huge computational power to its clients. IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS™) is used to ensure high-speed access to the large amount of data Gompute’s clients need to drive their simulations.

Benefits:
Deploying the IBM solution is expected to improve Gompute’s power usage effectiveness in relation to cooling its datacenter by 25 percent. Tens of terabytes of data can quickly and easily be integrated into clients’ simulations, delivering more accurate conclusions up to 50 percent faster than before.

Case Study

To read a Swedish version of this case study, click here.

Owned and operated by Swedish systems integrator Gridcore AB, Gompute on Demand delivers high-performance computing (HPC) resources on demand for technical and scientific users. The company offers support for most of the commercial and free applications used to simulate fluid dynamics, stress analysis, computational chemistry and visualization. Gompute also provides specialized training for its users, enabling them to get maximum benefit from the HPC resources available.

Demands of running complex simulations
Gompute’s clients include companies that are pushing the boundaries of technology, modeling fluid dynamics and material stress. These simulations are designed to help enhance the durability and functionality of consumer, medical and industrial products, for example. Research and development teams need to be able to run complex simulations involving huge amounts of data, which call on large quantities of computational power. Obtaining more accurate results from these simulations in shorter spans of time helps Gompute’s clients to stay ahead of their competitors. To attract new customers and retain existing ones, Gompute continually strives to find ways to boost performance. The challenge for Gompute was to find a computing platform that could fulfill these expectations for greater performance while keeping costs low.

The company’s customers are provided with a comprehensive HPC environment including 3D remote visualization. This enables the easy use of a wide range of open-source and commercial applications provided on ready-to-use high-performance computing resources, accessible either via a web interface or a thin client.

Selecting IBM System x iDataPlex
Working closely with IBM, Gompute implemented four IBM System x iDataPlex racks, each with 84 IBM System x iDataPlex dx360 M3 servers, for a total of 336 computational nodes running the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. Powered by a total of 4,032 of the latest Intel Xeon Processor 5600 series cores, the solution offers outstanding performance in a uniquely compact design. For a HPC services provider this is ideal, enabling Gompute to enjoy the benefits of accelerated processing packed into the same power and cooling envelope as traditional servers. The innovative, half-depth form-factor of the IBM System x iDataPlex dx360 M3 reduces the airflow required across the components, lowering the required power and cost of cooling.

The IBM System x iDataPlex was also fitted with a liquid-cooled IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger, offering a cost-efficient, quieter alternative to fans. In addition, its design helps maximize the usable storage space in Gompute’s datacenter, enabling the company to deploy higher rack power servers while avoiding the cost of renovating or moving datacenter. TrueScale Qlogic QDR Infiniband switches provide high-speed, low-latency connections.

Building a high-speed storage area network
Gompute created a storage area network (SAN) based on IBM System Storage DS3524 Express storage systems. The SAN is managed using IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS), a high-performance enterprise file management tool which helps guarantee Gompute’s clients high-speed access to the large amounts of data they require to drive their simulations. IBM GPFS removes all practical limits on the size of data sets and storage that can be managed. Gompute is handling very large data sets – with some currently as big as 400 GB – and the company’s total storage pool continues to grow. With IBM GPFS, Gompute is simply able to plug in new hardware without the need to re-configure its entire file system.

Engaging IBM Global Financing enables Gompute to acquire the new infrastructure and enjoy the benefits of the new solution while reducing risk to the business.

Enjoying the benefits
Before implementing the IBM System x iDataPlex, the power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of the datacenter was 1.6, meaning that for every watt consumed by the computing resources, a further 0.6 watt was required for cooling. Gompute believes that the in-built energy efficiency features of the IBM System x iDataPlex along with the innovative water-cooling from the IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger can be expected to drive this figure down to an impressive 1.2. Gompute can pass on these savings to clients, helping the company stay highly competitive in the HPC services sector. With many clients setting the company targets for energy efficiency, meeting these expectations will be easier than ever, helping to increase client retention.

The IBM solution provides the greater computational power that Gompute’s clients require to drive increasingly complex and workload-intensive simulations, helping to uncover new insights, sooner. For example, for some simulations involving the reading and writing of large files, Gompute can offer clients a 50 percent increase in performance with the new solution. The rock-solid resiliency of the IBM System x iDataPlex and IBM System Storage technologies ensures that service level agreements are met and Gompute retains its reputation for reliable HPC services.

The high flexibility of the IBM solution made it the ideal platform for Gompute to deploy its proprietary software stack to dynamically allocate resources to clients as and when they need it. Along with IBM GPFS, Gompute can use this software to ensure clients are charged on a pay-as-you-use basis, a key differentiator in the HPC services market. Moreover, the exceptional scalability of the IBM System x iDataPlex and IBM System Storage technologies means that as demand for Gompute’s services grow, the company can easily scale up resources to meet it.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Storage, Storage: DS3500 Express, System x, System x: iDataPlex, System x: iDataPlex dx360 M3, System x: System x running Linux - SUSE

Software:
General Parallel File System

Operating system:
Linux, Novell SUSE Linux

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Svenska AB 164 92 STOCKHOLM, Sverige Produced in Sweden April 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, GPFS, System x, iDataPlex and System Storage are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.