Red Hat helps Medlab share supercomputer in the cloud

redhat office logoA cloud of bioinformatics intelligence has been harmonised by Red Hat to create ‘virtual supercomputers’ that can be shared by the eMedlab collective of research institutes.

The upshot is that researchers at institutes such as the Wellcome Trust Sanger, UCL and King’s College London can carry out much more powerful data analysis when researching cancers, cardio-vascular conditions and rare diseases.

Since 2014 hundreds of researchers across the eMedlab have been able to use a high performance computer (HPC) with 6,000 cores of processing power and 6 Petabytes of storage from their own locations. However, the cloud environment now collectively created by technology partners Red Hat, Lenovo, IBM and Mellanox, along with supercomputing integrator OCF, means none of the users have to shift their data to the computer. Each of the seven institutes can configure their share of the HPC according to their needs, by self-selecting the memory, processors and storage they’ll need.

The new HPC cloud environment uses a Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack platform with Lenovo Flex hardware to create virtual HPC clusters bespoke to each individual researchers’ requirements. The system was designed and configured by OCF, working with partners Red Hat, Lenovo, Mellanox and eMedlab’s research technologists.

With the HPC hosted at a shared data centre for education and research, the cloud configuration has made it possible to run a variety of research projects concurrently. The facility, aimed solely at the biomedical research sector, changes the way data sets are shared between leading scientific institutions internationally.

The eMedLab partnership was formed in 2014 with funding from the Medical Research Council. Original members University College London, Queen Mary University of London, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute have been joined recently by King’s College London.

“Bioinformatics is a very, data-intensive discipline,” says Jacky Pallas, Director of Research Platforms at University College London. “We study a lot of de-identified, anonymous human data. It’s not practical for scientists to replicate 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.”

In other news Red Hat has announced a new upgrade of CloudForms with better hybrid cloud management through more support for Microsoft Azure Support, advanced container management and improvements to its self-service features.