Monday, December 21, 2009

Why should it be Lemoniz (the Data Centre) (beta)

0- Because the place needs to be rebuilt, and accommodated as a shared space with the Basque citizines and victims of terrorism: this along with a natural reconversion of the space taken to the sea and the enhancement of Basque human progress is the best end the our society needs. Walled spaces are not something we should be proud of.

And on top of that my technical reasons:

1- Because it is a very safe place (physical): the main buildings (the reactors) are strong large and extremely safe caves that are even prepared for external impacts.
2- Because companies are interested in safe places: to host the datacenter.
3- Because caves could be rebuilt from the inside: warranting an intelligent design and reducing the amount of columns.
4- Because we need to consolidate, protect and run our computing resources to the fullest according with the latest technology and in terms of efficiency and performance.


-This centre and its infrastructure should be created with the agreement with the Government in Madrid, owned by Government in the Basque Country, and in partnership with industry, research and universities in the Basque Country. Lack of any of this factors would mean total failure. On the contrary, social partnership at all levels would be an unprecedented success.

And all this comes from this story.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Personnel: Critical Success Factors

"Management of such machines is sometimes highly specialized. Presently all these people work in different locations in small centres of companies and in groups of no more than two: we need to make these people share information, experience and educate them well."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eroski Data Centre

The biggest industrial data centre in the Basque (video in Spanish):

It is called Geminis and it is located in the small city of Elorrio.
The video is from a local television technology program (teknopolis).

Read the contents in English here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Data Center as Critical Success Factor

"Small and Medium Companies, Universities, Government and Research Centres and Companies should create a shared datacenter and working areas."

The datacentre is the kick-off HPC infrastructure. It is as critical as building a road or connecting with high speed trains or airplanes. We should stop creating small, unsafe, dangerous and unproperly PUE-ed small datacentre desings: it is time to consolidate and securize such infrastructures around the basque area. It is time to create a building infrastructure able to provide uptime, power, security at all leves, for all the science, enterprise, industry and educational actors. It is time to consolidate and build something useful and safe. The start of a HPC-Hub could be Lemoniz: better that it may seen as I already said in another post. Nevertheless I want to introduce here another good practice from Europe. Germany what a suprise.

The pictures show one of my favourites datacentres design the LRZ.

Here are the building offices and the impressive cube at the end is the datacentre itself. Each floor in there is a level of service. Elevators at the sides, stairs, from bottom to top each floor is one service: water and cooling, networking, power, backup and machine room at the top room, a space without columns (see the last picture). Impresive well design. The building includes a control room kinda space control room. Others datacentres in Europe also include such infrastructure.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ideas for the future ...

If created, such centre would need to be funded in previously existing partnership with Industry. That is the key.

CIE Automotive and Simulation

This automotive company already collaborates with research centres and universities across the Basque Country.

CIE Automotive's software and research departments work with CAD, CAE and simulation tools.

It is funny coz some centres have to kill themselves to find this kinda of clients and we, in the basque, are surrounded by them ;-) perhaps because they are basque companies :-p

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Brain Drain

An HPC centre will never exist in the Basque if we keep exporting PhD graduates, due to a lack of national strategy. HPC was labeled as strategic for US industry: why is it not for the Basque ?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mercedes-Benz CAD

Daimler Group assembles Viano and Vito vans in the Basque Country, in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Around this company 5,000 employees are directly and indirectly employed.They are known users of Hyperworks from Altair for this product specifically, and much other CAx tools that I have not had time to find.

With the recession hitting hard we got great tools around to help and start creating local value: in this critical field for HPC. The Basque Automotive Industry Association represents the importance of auto industry in the basque. Recently Automobile Intelligence Centre was created, and this could also help to create a UNIX/CAD pole in the Basque Country. Local SME as providers of this multinationals could also benefit of using the HPC resources provided in a possible centre.

Iberdrola HPC

We already heard the Iberdrola -a basque based energy company- did some deals with IBM. But these engineering slides slightly detail the usage of HPC for their meteoflow processing model. As they say a private supercomputer -the largest in Spain- of 450 nodes.

Further explained here.

Yet another industrial client lost: The Basque could be providing expertise to its companies, why do we let other multinationals do that work ? Added value HPC professionals could be extremely useful for Basque Industry and could create a missing market in here. We need to rethink this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Networking is Great

Happy to read that three Basque research centers Tecnalia, The University of the Basque Country and BCAM have celebrated a joint workshop. These three are already known for dealing or creating home-grown HPC software and it is great that they met "with the intended to enhance and foster cooperation between these different groups and promote their interaction as agents of the R+D+i system in the Basque Country".

The Basque still needs a coordinated management of HPC resources and specific computational expertise grouped, although it seems that this is meeting goes into the right direction, as no HPC center can grow without relevant users.

Text Available here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home Grown Software (Part I - Aircrafts)

Two Basque companies developing software:

"A software to improve the design of aircraft wings"

"TECNALIA and AERNNOVA are working together on the ICARO project to develop MDO (Multidisciplinary Optimisation) software aimed at optimising the design of aircraft wings and thus reduce the main design variables, such as manufacturing costs and weight."

Further Info:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Epsilon Euskadi - The most important Industrial Client

"Epsilon Euskadi is a Motor Racing Innovation & Technology Centre aiming to be an international reference point in its field of activity and beyond."

"Epsilon is supported by four activity columns that link to each other in a cycle and also delivering company business and social benefits independently:

  • Education
  • Design and R&D
  • Production
  • Racing Teams"

"The new Centre is equipped with the first rolling road Wind Tunnel of Spain. This extraordinary infrastructure is the support tool for aerodynamic engineering services, not only to motor sport but also for many different industries. A Super Computer – second most powerful in Spain- is also to be installed delivering high calculation capacity needed for optimizing results of simulation software and will be available for calculation time renting."

Without any doubt, Epsilon represents the most important industrial client of HPC known in the Basque Region. Just check the photos of the new facility.

Further Information:

-Epsilon Euskadi's Web Page
-Photos of the Impressive New Building

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Acquisitions (Part I)

Euskalmet, the Basque Regional Meteorological Agency has announced today a new 11TF Supercomputer based on IBM iDataPlex technology for its research.

In fact, EJIE, the Basque Government Computing Services is behind this acquisition, which IBM will have to install in 6 months time. It is said that the supercomputer will be used by other research institutions as well.

So this reveals many unknowns regarding the Basque supercomputing policy: first and most important they will use the EJIE infrastructure. This means that EJIE´s datacenter will host it. And EJIE will pay a certain amount to IBM employees to manage the infrastructure.

This is good and bad news: probably EJIE does not have any qualified HPC employee. Therefore no local technicians will benefit from this knowledge as IBM will remain as the manager of the machine: what about the user support - applications team? The public University?

It also shows that the Basque region wants its own supercomputing power to be managed locally rather than doing it in any of the Spanish centers.

In the end I guess it is expected to see a regional center that will look after the small machines spreaded across the Basque region: we only need somebody in the Government to make a deeper research.

In future we will update this post with further information regarding this acquisition. We will also publish further details about other HPC machines in the Basque Region and their users. More to come in short.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Open Proposals (Part I)

The team in charge of the infrastructure management should be something else: The department should be an applied Laboratory to develop and test softwares and where there is real transference of technology to society and centers under open source licenses. A place where learning, experimenting and taking care of the people that run the service is the most important.

Therefore and as the Basque Government has done in other centers, firstly is very important to find a leader that faced both research and industry technology transference and with deep knowledge of HPC. Somebody honest and willing to cooperate in a Team where his/her name is the last thing to appear.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Learning from Others (Part II)

Most public HPC centers would offer free computational resources to research institutions: this makes sense as a way of concentrating the expenses that unlinked small and replicated computing resources across universities make. It is a good way of sharing resources efficiently. Makes sense.

Private sector can also join; but paying per storage and cpu-usage. And that has no sense for the national companies: they pay taxes and have to pay for using the national computing resources as well. And their impact in local economy can be equally compared to the impact that research has for the national scientific community.

They have to pay twice and usually HPC centers can not guarantee a top-class security of their industrial data or a 24x7 operations.

Once more, public managers should review its policies and be a real impulse to our industry -and stop making marketing with fake headlines.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Maths: A Head To Drive It All

Maths are the key core of Industry and therefore HPC. The Basque Center for Applied Mathematics has been created in 2008 and is directed by prestigious Enrique Zuazua:

"The scientific program is structured in several research areas covering various fields of Applied Mathematics: Partial Differential Equations and Control Theory, Multiphysics Numerical Simulations, Mathematical Biology, the Calculus of Variations and Material Sciences, Financial Mathematics and the Modelling and Mathematical Analysis of Networks, among others. The scientific policiy of the center is agreed with an international Scientific Committee."

Therefore the center has its own resources -presently 32 Quad Core nodes as seen here. It is vital for their research and what is more, it is a center focused on supporting industry. BCAM will have an evolving computing infrastructure and electricity bill to pay and will need more staff to support the infrastructure and provide world-class computing services to its key core research.

A unified center for the Basque area could add the separate effords and bills of this and other research centers in the Basque building an energy efficient and strongly secured center focusing its activity on Industry in which the Basque Region is one of the most powerful regions in Europe. It is time to think what to do.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Industries To Benefit (Part I)

Silverspace Animation Studios is a very small computer animation studios based in Vitoria-Gasteiz´s technological park. They have written and develop a short, called "Perpetuum Mobile" that has been selected to be nominated to the Oscars; they will know if they finally are the next 22nd of January 2009.

After listening to a speech given by one of its founders, Enrique Garcia, it is clear that Silverspace as a company needs a lot of computing power and electricity to be able to render -in competence with other studios like Pixar- enough and getting as much quality as possible. As himself explains they had to reduce timing as their rendering server was always full to edit the 10 minutes short.

The infrastructure provided by a public funded entity could support and enhance its activity and would be vital for their industrial activity and for the development of a fostering computer animation industry in the region. Companies could benefit from lower costs of electricity and hardware and could make use of powerful, secured and professionally managed infrastructure to develop industrial projects in an area like animation. I am pretty sure that Silverspace would thank a reduction in the electricty bill if they want to grow-up and more people to manage a probably growin IT infrastructure. Specially now, that they probably have a reduced staff team, and that after the nomination will probably have to increase.

The Basque Region has another reason to manage a computing center, not only to serve science, but also provide secure computing force, safely and supporting vital industrial projects. It is the future.

All the best of luck to Silverspace!