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EMedLab is a collaboration between seven leading bioinformatics research and academic institutions in the U.K. focused on studying cancer, cardiovasular, and other rare diseases to better understand how genetics may influence a person's predisposition to and potential treatment responses for the disease.

Scientific HPC projects such as this can be quite data intensive. Jacky Pallas, director of Research Platforms at University College London, part of the eMedLabs partnership, commented on the challenge they faced:

“Bioinformatics is a very, very data intensive discipline,” says Jacky Pallas, Director of Research Platforms, University College London. “We want to study a lot of de-identified, anonymous human data. It’s not practical – from data transfer and data storage perspectives – to have scientists replicating the same datasets across their own, separate physical HPC resources, so we’re creating a single store for up to 6 Petabytes of data and a shared HPC environment within which researchers can build their own virtual clusters to support their work.”

To create the foundation for its private cloud HPC environment, eMedLab deployed Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, a highly scalable and production-ready OpenStack solution. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is uniquely co-engineered with Red Hat Enterprise Linux to increase stability and interoperability. OpenStack's scalability and flexibility have helped it to emerge as a cloud platform well-suited for scientific and research clouds.

As the article notes, with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform-powered cloud, eMedLab's scientists can ”create and use virtual clusters bespoke to their needs, allowing them to select compute memory, processors, networking, storage and archiving policies, all orchestrated by a simple web-based user-Interface. Researchers will be able [to] access up to 6,000 cores of processing power.”

And, the OpenStack-based cloud is backed by Red Hat's leading support organization, helping to provide the researchers peace of mind as they conduct this critical research.

As noted in the article, EmedLab worked with Red Hat partner OCF to deploy its private cloud and HPC environment, which includes:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform
  • Red Hat Satellite
  • Lenovo System x Flex system with 252 hypervisor nodes and Mellanox 10Gb network with a 40Gb/56Gb core
  • Five tiers of storage, managed by IBM Spectrum Scale (formerly GPFS), for cost effective data storage – scratch, Frequently Accessed Research Data, virtual clusters image storage, medium-term storage and previous versions backup.”

Projects such as this can help to push the boundaries of science and human endeavor and highlight the potential of open source and the cloud. We're pleased to collaborate with OCF and eMedLab's scientists to create its OpenStack-based private cloud.

Read more on eMedLab's OpenStack-powered private cloud here: http://insidehpc.com/2015/12/virtual-hpc-clusters-enable-cancer-cardio-….

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