High-performance computing (HPC) is a critical asset driving innovation across industries, and it has never been more evident than during the rapid development of vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. HPC teams are exploring modern approaches to running HPC to deliver innovations faster and more efficiently. Our HPC team within the VMware Technical Director’s Office (OCTO) had the opportunity to demonstrate the additional value the VMware portfolio can bring to accelerate innovation, working with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) to bring enterprise capabilities to its national supercomputing system (Computerome 2).
Partnering to Accelerate Innovation
Using VMware technology, DTU captures the benefits of virtualizing HPC workloads while delivering performance comparable to bare metal HPC. By leveraging compute, the network virtualization stack, and infrastructure-as-code, DTU has achieved a level of flexibility, operational efficiency, agility, and security that the university could not have achieved. in bare metal environments, enabling faster insights and discoveries. VMware’s network virtualization technology has low overhead and enables easy splitting of data into separate private clouds to meet research data security needs.
DTU’s supercomputing design team started the Computerome 2 design process around 2017 and wanted to go beyond the conventional approach used for building HPC clusters. DTU decided to take advantage of cloud technologies, and its team met with VMware to explore possibilities for using existing proven enterprise software that powers customers’ cloud environments. Different approaches to using this methodology have been extensively tested by VMware in conjunction with DTU. The results of the collaborative development process showed great results and in 2019 Computerome 2 was released, running on VMware technology.
Building Secure HPC Clouds for Life Sciences
Computerome 2 is one of the largest virtualized computing systems in the world, serving a library of over 3,000 different life science applications. It has over 31,000 CPU cores with 210 terabytes of memory, connected to 20 petabytes of high-performance storage.
The project merged a traditional HPC platform with a flexible, virtualized multi-tenant cloud platform. It is a key tool for combining many different types of highly sensitive personal health data, in accordance with data protection regulations.
Separating data from workloads is critical in this case, since Computerome 2 handles sensitive healthcare research data for users from many different organizations, as well as clinical data. This is made possible by leveraging vSphere for compute virtualization and NSX-T network virtualization technology to provide the necessary level of multi-tenant separation and security. Workflow Automation use cases allow DTU administrators to quickly create and destroy a variety of complex, pre-configured environments for a range of end-user scenarios. This flexibility dramatically increases the level of agility that can be achieved with respect to meeting diverse end-user needs in a repeatable and robust manner.
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