17.11.2011

Intelligent software solution for Swiss high performance computing centre

CSCS banks on Datwyler´s "Panorama"

Swiss National Supercomputing Centre CSCS opted for a proposal from Datwyler covering both a management software solution and services for comprehensive data centre documentation and sophisticated future management tasks.

The Centro Svizzero di Calcolo Scientifico (CSCS) is Switzerland’s national high-performance computing centre. An autonomous service and research unit of ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), the CSCS works closely with Swiss higher education institutions, ETH Research Stations, CERN, the national meteorological service and other research institutes, including international ones. It makes modern supercomputers available and supports its customers using tailor-made in-house developments and by passing on technical knowledge. The CSCS maintains Switzerland’s largest and most efficient High Performance Computing (HPC) system in Manno.

As the CSCS is moving to new premises in Lugano in spring 2012, it is necessary to fully document every detail of the Manno data centre in advance with the aid of software. Among the things needed to do this are a component library and an object designer to create the master data for equipment and infrastructure. CSCS plans to use the software for other important management tasks on the new site. Numerous other features were therefore required in addition to standard tools like troubleshooting and a search for available ports, for instance. This meant that the software had to show hierarchies, cable ducts and cable runs, and automatically calculate the cable lengths required. It had to provide the option of triggering orders for essential installations and mapping workflows. Warehouse management called for various functions including the simple administration of cable stocks. Simulations of error situations had to allow those responsible to identify potential single points of failure in advance. Not least, the CSCS wanted options for reading the energy consumption data of individual devices and for automatically allocating these and other costs to individual cost centres.

After a standardised evaluation process Datwyler beat all its competitors’ offers in April 2011. The greatest impression of all was made by "Panorama", the multi-client, web-based management software solution, which met the requirements of the CSCS in every respect. What clinched the matter, however, was not only the software itself, but also the services provided by Datwyler, including customised workshops and the good price/performance ratio of the total package. 

The software was set up at CSCS for several users. Following an initial workshop held on-site in August 2011 those responsible at CSCS created the module database (component library). They are in the process of implementing the modules now. The second workshop was held in November