MINNEAPOLIS, May 20, 2020 — Nor-Tech recently completed an HPC cluster for materials manufacturer Owens Corning. The cluster features engineered hardware, Intel Xeon Processors and an Open Source utility offered to enterprises exclusively through Nor-Tech.
The cluster resides in an Owens-Corning datacenter, but that was no impediment to getting work done during the COVID-19 shutdown. “I was still able to access it even while I was working at home,” an Owens Corning engineer said. “Utilities that Nor-Tech recommended and integrated, such as NICE DCV and EnginFrame, made it easy to work remotely.”
Nor-Tech had been working with Owens Corning for several years when they were approached by a senior engineer about this possible cluster project. The engineer and his colleagues conduct simulations of physical transport phenomena (CFD) in proprietary processes.
In an effort to make the client’s budget go much further, Nor-Tech’s Senior HPC Account Executive Tom Morton explained that they could quote the cluster with all open source software, instead of mainstream software—which comes with hefty annual licensing fees.
Nor-Tech has a significant edge with open source in that they are the only enterprise offering groundbreaking Open OnDemand to enterprise clients. This utility, developed at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, allows even those without high performance computing experience or expertise to take advantage of the open source cost savings. A free trial of Open OnDemand is currently available on Nor-Tech’s Demo Cluster.
Morton recommended a cluster with Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. The client also wanted the capacity to add significantly more nodes in the future.
Building on the momentum of the existing 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors (CLX), Intel’s Refreshed 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors (CLX-R) offer enhanced power and value for high performance, mainstream and entry level applications at a similar or lower price than CLX.
“We can do what we did before, only much faster and it has also opened up capacity for larger simulation models,” the engineer said. “I have run my test problem interactively through the visualization node with excellent results. On a Windows workstation with 32 cores, the problem ran at about 40 seconds/iteration. On the Nor-Tech cluster it ran at 22 seconds/iteration with 32 cores. At 64, 128, and 256 cores it ran at 11.8, 6.5 and 3.5 seconds/iteration, respectively. I am now running additional comparisons on another model. With 32 cores it runs at 14.3 seconds/iteration on a windows workstation, compared to 9.4 seconds/iteration on the cluster.”
About Intel 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable-Refresh Processors
Building on the momentum of the existing 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors (CLX), these CLX-R processors offer enhanced power and value for high performance, mainstream and entry level applications at a similar or lower price than CLX. They feature:
- Peak Frequencies for High Performance Use: Two new Intel Xeon Gold 6200 processors deliver up to 4.5 GHz Intel Turbo Boost Technology, along with up to 3.9 GHz base frequency, with up to 33% more processor cache.
- Enhanced Performance for Mainstream Use: New Intel Xeon Gold 6200R processors deliver built-in value through a combination of higher base and Intel Turbo Boost Technology frequencies (in addition to increased processor cache), at a similar or lower price than original 2nd generation processors.
- Increased Value and Capability for Entry Use: New Intel Xeon Gold 6200U, Silver 4200R and Bronze 3200R processors deliver increased value for single-socket, entry, edge, networking and IoT applications.
Nor-Tech is an Intel HPC Data Center Specialist and Platinum Partner with the depth of engineering experience to develop HPC technology that allows clients to solve problems, complete research, develop prototypes and bring products to market faster than competitors. For more information, visit: https://www.nor-tech.com/solutions/hpc/intel_clx-r/
About Open OnDemand
This utility, developed at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, makes using an HPC almost as easy as using a printer. This means that even those without HPC expertise can take advantage of the computing power available in a cluster.
The traditional downside of open source platforms has been lack of support. Nor-Tech’s engineers, who have decades of open source expertise, provide that support. Now Nor-Tech’s clients have the option of using low cost/no cost open source cluster management tools like Open HPC, PBS Pro and CentOS to dramatically cut their software licensing costs.
- Open OnDemand is simply configured as a virtual server running on the cluster head node so no extra server hardware is needed–keeping the added cost very low.
- There is zero install on the end-user workstation. Open OnDemand is a single point of entry into the cluster; all users need is a simple browser and a single sign-on–user name, password, and URL.
- Users can easily upload and download files to and from the cluster right through the browser with no special FTP or PUTTY needed.
- Command lines are easily accessible from within the browser session.
- Resource schedulers like PBS Pro, Slurm and LSF are all supported.
A free trial of Open OnDemand is currently available on Nor-Tech’s Demo Cluster
Nor-Tech is on CRN’s list of the top 40 Data Center Infrastructure Providers along with IBM, Oracle, Dell, and Supermicro and is also a member of Hyperion Research’s prestigious HPC Technical Computing Advisory Panel. The company is a high performance computer builder for 2015 and 2017 Nobel Physics Award-contending/winning projects. Nor-Tech engineers average 20+ years of experience. This strong industry reputation and deep partner relationships also enable the company to be a leading supplier of cost-effective Lenovo desktops, laptops, tablets and Chromebooks to schools and enterprises. All of Nor-Tech’s high performance technology is developed by Nor-Tech in Minnesota and supported by Nor-Tech around the world. The company is headquartered in Burnsville, Minn. just outside of Minneapolis. Nor-Tech holds the following contracts: Minnesota State IT, GSA, University of Wisconsin System, and NASA SEWP V.