Heterogeneous Cluster Powers Data-Intensive Research: Case Study

Intel® technologies help Virginia Bioinformatics Institute triple big-data performance

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Heterogeneous Cluster Powers Life Sciences Research

A heterogeneous high performance computing (HPC) cluster based on Intel® technologies is helping the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) stay on the forefront of life science research. VBI has expanded its Shadowfax* cluster with the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family, and Intel® True Scale Fabric, and Intel® True Scale Host Channel Adapters based on quad data rate (QDR) InfiniBand*. The heterogeneous cluster also uses SGI enterprise storage systems based on the Intel Xeon processor E5 family.

VBI experts Kevin Shinpaugh and Harold Garner say Intel technologies are delivering 300 percent speedups compared to their earlier platform, which used previous-generation Intel processors with another vendor’s InfiniBand product. The new cluster provides the 300 percent speedup while running on 16 percent fewer nodes.

In this case study, Shinpaugh and Garner discuss VBI’s heterogeneous HPC cluster and the benefits Intel technologies are providing. In addition to higher performance, VBI’s heterogeneous cluster gives researchers the flexibility to handle both symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and massively parallel processing (MPP) workloads. Affordable Intel True Scale Fabric technology saved VBI enough to purchase additional computing nodes, giving scientists even more capacity to apply to their research problems. Garner and Shinpaugh also offer advice on technology choices for heterogeneous clusters.

Read the full Heterogeneous Cluster Powers Life Sciences Research Case Study.