CASE STUDY changes . As a research institute , we need to be able to change direction quickly and we have developed an infrastructure that can manage this . We also like to know that we can speak early and often to our partners and be engaged with them continuously so that we know what ’ s coming down the line . Dell Technologies can offer us this value add and we ’ ve found the partnership extremely beneficial .
How does data and storage play a part in enabling the Institute to carry out ground-breaking research ?
McCafferty : New and different datasets , algorithms and techniques are powering the science that we do today .
Clapham : Making sure that the data is quickly accessible is essential . Due to our scale , some areas of our storage portfolio will need to be very cost-effective while other areas need to be more performance-led so that large-scale analysis can be performed effectively , often against tight deadlines . As technologies and research areas develop , we need to ensure that we can continue to deliver effective storage solutions that scale up and out and remain manageable as well as the right fit for our environment .
How does Dell Technologies accelerate discovery and innovation with its HPC solutions ?
McCafferty : A key objective is reducing the time to science . HPC solutions can hugely accelerate much of the computation we need to do . For example , we carry out work to identify mutations that cause disease and part of that is to isolate genes to check their roles in genetic disorders . This informatics would have previously taken many days to calculate , but by adopting HPC solutions we are now able to calculate the same information within a matter of hours . If we can reduce the time on these activities , we are able to move the science on faster and our scientists can achieve so much more in the same timeframe . Adopting HPC also puts the power into scientist ’ s hands – there are various user-friendly tools which enable our scientists to perform advanced interactive analytics , which is a huge step forward for innovation and discovery . This is all powered by high-performance computing .
How has the Dell PowerScale solution meant the Institute has been able to scale and upgrade its storage without sacrificing simplicity and what are the advantages of this ?
Clapham : We ’ ve been using PowerScale heavily here at Sanger . It provides a resilient platform that we depend upon for our core cluster components , including the core installation and logging areas . If these stop , then our clusters stop . We are dependent on this enterprise storage platform .
Similarly , we use this storage platform to support our Institute ’ s new home directories , our software storage service areas – which hold core applications for our teams – as well as our longer-term unstructured datasets . PowerScale is being used both as a highperformance frontend and for those core interactive service areas , with the HSM integration of a costeffective Dell-ECS based S3 backend for less frequently accessed datasets . With this , we can further manage our costs into the future .
Can you outline your plans for the future in regard to your partnership with Dell ?
Clapham : We ’ ve written and shared with Dell a set of benchmarks that are based on core informatics workloads that run on our HPC systems . This ensures that we can both stay abreast of what is the best fit for our use now , and by sharing the benchmark suites we are able to engage with Dell more closely . Partnerships of this type are key to our ability to adapt and shape our HPC platforms to enable research processes at scale .
We ’ re looking forward to continued engagement with Dell and are already seeing huge benefits from our current engagements .
Rawcliffe : We ’ re learning so much from our customers . We ’ re taking the feedback and developing solutions in line with that feedback and in line with those outcomes that customer hopes to achieve . We take the experience and the expertise of the Sanger Institute and work with it to develop solutions that fit these needs . p
AS A RESEARCH INSTITUTE , WE NEED TO BE ABLE
TO CHANGE DIRECTION QUICKLY AND WE
HAVE DEVELOPED AN INFRASTRUCTURE THAT
CAN MANAGE THIS .
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