Cloud and Supercomputing Platforms at NCI Australia: the Why, the How, and the Future.
Clouds and Distributed Computing
TimeMonday, 18 November 20199:40am - 10am
DescriptionAustralia’s National Computational Infrastructure (NCI Australia) is a tier 1 provider of high performance computing and data services for Australian researchers spanning the higher education, government agency and industry sectors. NCI’s HPC facility lies in the range 20-150 on the top500 list, depending on stage within its lifecycle. The facility also manages on the order of 70PB of high-performance data storage capacity, comprising both projectized data spaces as well as high curated, functionalized FAIR data collections of national significance. Alongside its HPC capability provisioning, NCI has run a cloud architecture for internal and selected external purposes and over the past 5 years has progressively evaluated the most effective functional role that a cloud infrastructure might play in the context of a national facility. Strategically, its current focus with cloud is to build the infrastructure for major research communities that have the demand; the national strategic priority and the resourcing capabilities to partner NCI in development of services and functionalities beyond the provision of “bare metal” hardware as an infrastructure. One of the significant technical challenges associated with this is the need for data analytics that access the petabyte-scale datasets residing on NCI’s high performance storage file systems, necessitating a level of data transfer bandwidth and compute resourcing that are not typical of “conventional” cloud. In this presentation I will give an overview of the above issues as NCI Australia encounters them presently, providing examples of current activities and sketching the future as we see it at this point.