Cutting edge HPC environment at University of Exeter

As one of the world’s top 150 universities according to the Times Higher Education ranking, the University of Exeter decided to invest in a new High Performance Computing (HPC) facility to support a diverse range of research.

Instead of adopting an outsourced computer model, the university decided to build its own data centre to act as the critical infrastructure for its proprietary HPC system, called Isca. Isca provides a next-generation research computing environment, combining traditional HPC with a privatecloud infrastructure. This would allow it to ensure its specific research requirements and capacity challenges were met and give it new opportunities to build partnerships with other universities, including the GW4 consortium, and industrial partners.

Keysource was appointed because it has considerable expertise in delivering HPC-related projects and had a track record in meeting tight project deadlines in live environments without disruption to existing services and successfully delivered the university’s data centre in time for the new research project and to the allocated budget. Its end-to-end role, covering both design and delivery, saw it also ensure that there was no impact to the live environment around the construction site – with no downtime caused to the adjacent data centre.

The project’s success means that the university is now positioned to be a major player in the multi-disciplinary, computer intensive environment of modern research.

Project Highlights

  • The data centre underpins a market-leading HPC environment and has unlocked new research capabilities that will generate revenue for the university.

  • Keysource’s active role in engaging with additional stakeholders, including those working on the adjacent site, enabled it to avoid any issues and deliver the project on-time.

  • Zero downtime was caused to the existing data centre, which is of critical importance to the university’s day-to-day business functions.

  • The back-to-basics approach ensured that there were absolutely no surprises during the build – demonstrating best practice for the industry.

“We chose Keysource to work with us partly because of their proven experience in bringing together multiple stakeholders and translating operational andservice requirements into a clear brief. Their vast experience within the Higher Education sector, as well as expertise in delivering live upgrades tooperational environments, wasalso a deciding factor.”

— Dave Ackerman, IT Infrastructure Director, University of Exeter