Cancer Research is set to double size of datacentre

By Computing Staff
09 Dec 2011 View Comments
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The UK-based charity Cancer Research has doubled the processing power of its centralised computer cluster over the last three months, due to the increasingly data-driven nature of its work.

The increase in data-driven work has come about as the charity has moved away from traditional biological research and into microscopy and DNA-sequencing technology.

The charity has seen the number of its processing cores within its central computer cluster increase from 500 to 13,000 over the last three months. It is also looking to double the size of its datacentre by June next year, from 100 to 200 square metres.

Further reading

The computer cluster, located at the Cambridge Research Institute (CRI), is based on a workload management solution for high-performance computing environments from Platform LSF.

Prior to the creation of the centralised cluster, CRI's 21 research groups, each working on a different type of cancer, employed separate computing resources in 21 locations.

This meant the server system was more expensive in terms of power and maintenance.

The creation of the cluster saved the charity £50,000 per year as it removed hardware and maintenance duplication across its locations.

Of the 400 staff working at the Cambridge centre, 10 per cent are computational scientists.

Peter Maccallum, head of IT and scientific computing at Cancer Research UK in Cambridge, said: "The platform software scales effortlessly. This hasn't been a problem for us, however – creating a single shared file system has been more of an issue. We have had to create extra storage server heads and extra fibre channel storage to accommodate this."

The Institute is managing the human genome research project, among others.

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