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Hawking helped

Opengear, a provider of data centre and remote network infrastructure products, has announced that the system administrators of [email protected], the UK National Cosmology Supercomputer, have selected its technology to provide secure remote management.

The UK Computational Cosmology Consortium (UK-CCC) was founded by Professor Stephen Hawking in 1996 to meet the need for computing resources to advance cosmological research. The COSMOS supercomputer, now part of the UK DiRAC HPC facility, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Department of Business, Innovations and Skills (DBIS) is run by the Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC) in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), University of Cambridge.

The aim: to develop a seamless history of the Universe from the earliest moments after the Big Bang to the present. The COSMOS system has now been operating for 15 years through nine upgrades in a collaboration with SGI.

As Andrey Kaliazin, COSMOS System Manager says: “as we go through the upgrades, compatibility of the management infrastructure with different technologies is critical.”

The consortium selected a management product from Opengear. “The Opengear technology offered the most compatibility with network and power elements within our data centre and the open nature of the device means we can integrate it into our existing monitoring systems.”

The Opengear IM4200 series appliance provides out-of-band access to critical infrastructure at the COSMOS site, including network hardware from a variety of vendors, server lights-out IPMI management interfaces and UPS systems, connected via the Opengear’s serial console, USB and Ethernet management ports. This enables technicians to monitor the status of the COSMOS system and do routine maintenance as well as troubleshooting and problem remediation tasks remotely.

The IM4200 can be equipped with temperature, humidity and other environmental sensors for remote monitoring of physical site conditions. The IM4200 series can also be upgraded with an industrial grade cellular module to use any 3G network to deliver real-time out-of-band remote access to the site when the primary network link is down.

“The other factor in selecting Opengear was the level of security and audit control,” adds Mr Kaliazin, “and the open nature of the platform means that we have a long term solution that will last us through a few more upgrades.”


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