Building a Centralized Computing Resource for Researchers and Students: A Case Study


By Lionel Gibbons | September 16, 2015 | HPC, HPC Cluster, Case Study



MSU-Case-Study-CoverMontana State University’s Information Technology Center’s Research Cyberinfrastructure (RCi) group had to build a shared community computing resource – a flexible infrastructure that would let them offer compute and storage services at an affordable price. We just completed a new case study that tells the interesting story of how they met the challenge.

Nationally recognized among leading public research universities, MSU holds more than 250 active technology licenses and has been issued 91 patents and 36 plant variety certificates. Research expenditures at MSU typically exceed $100 million annually.

Like most facilities they had to figure out a way to get their research done without breaking the bank. They wanted an affordable infrastructure that could be scalable in small increments, easy to administer, and able to use off-premise resources to extend the infrastructure when necessary. The resource also had to be easy enough for students to use, and reliable enough for researchers to count on for their grant projects.

MSU’s approach was to build a modest cluster of generalized nodes on premise, and take advantage of virtualization and cloud computing technologies to extend their capabilities. For the approach to work, they knew they had to be able to quickly and reliably reconfigure nodes. Several Bright Computing management solutions helped them meet the challenge.

Read on to learn:

  • Why global IT consultancy and solution provider BIOS-IT selected Bright Cluster Manager to configure the overall cluster initially, and re-configure nodes as needed.

  • How Bright’s hardware-agnostic architecture enabled the university to reuse existing servers – providing unexpected additional savings.

  • How using Bright OpenStack helped MSU spin up virtualized HPC clusters on existing servers, and easily expand to managed cloud servers.

  • About Bright’s ease of use and uncomplicated web interface.

Read the entire case study here.