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Huawei and EPFL partner together to build one of the world’s top 500 High Performance Computing clusters


Liebefeld/Ecublens, 16th June 2017 – Together with Huawei, today EPFL, one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, inaugurated the Fidis High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster of its Scientific IT and Application Support (SCITAS) unit. 

In order to keep up with researchers' needs and renew their infrastructure, EPFL needed to purchase the latest generation of computing cluster. The HPC solution provided by Huawei for SCITAS is very robust, innovative and efficient: with a LINPACK performance reaching 401 Teraflops, the Fidis cluster belongs to the world's top 500 clusters.

 © Alain Herzog / EPFL

From left to right: Vittoria Rezzonico, Matthias Gäumann, Leon He, Haijun Xiao

At the end of last year, together with the Swiss company Transtec, Huawei won the tender for the Fidis cluster to provide the High Performance Computing (HPC) solution, which passed all the EPFL tests and proved very stable. Huawei proposed the best equipments for the cluster, based on the following hardware:

• High-performance chassis X6800 with 408 nodes linked together with a non-blocking Infiniband network to provide a very flexible topology
• Large-capacity storage OceanStor 5800V3, using RAID 2.0 technology

Fidis filesystem provides 350 TB of global data space optimized for high throughput, parallel I/O accesses. It leverages the IBM Spectrum Scale technology on top of a Huawei back-end storage system, which includes fast spinning disks for storing data and SSDs for low-latency metadata accesses. 

Furthermore, compute nodes include local SSDs for caching and accelerating some global filesystem access patterns. In addition, the SCITAS team is providing a full in-situ data framework that enables high performance data analysis based on services like Apache Spark, OpenStack, data analysis tools based on Docker containers and visualization.

“We are pleased that EPFL selected Huawei and Transtec as partner for the SCITAS HPC cluster”, said Xiao Haijun, CEO Huawei Switzerland. “We are committed to continue providing further cutting-edge products and solutions to EFPL and work closely to optimize their infrastructure.”

Vittoria Rezzonico, executive director of EPFL SCITAS said: “Transtec and Huawei worked closely together to provide a top-quality system that is well adapted to academic HPC. We were impressed by the presentation of the hardware solution by Huawei engineers and the planning, installation and configuration by Transtec.”