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EBI Turns to Platform to Link its Computing Resources in an Enterprise Grid Solution

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The European Bioinformatics Institute is building on its existing relationship with Platform Computing by using Platform’s LSF MultiCluster software to build an enterprise grid solution at its Hinxton, UK campus.

The EBI began using Platform’s LSF workload management software in 1997 when it first built its existing queuing system, said Petteri Jokinen, head of systems and networking at the EBI. With its data doubling every year, Jokinen said the EBI needed to apply LSF “in a bigger way.”

Now, LSF will run on most of the EBI’s servers rather than a small portion of them. LSF Multicluster will manage the workload across a multi-platform server farm that includes Compaq AlphaServers, SGI servers, and a Linux cluster and supports its 200-gigabyte database of flat files on protein and genomic sequencing.

There are roughly five terabytes of data behind the system currently, Jokenin estimated. In all, roughly 300 Pentium CPUs, 50 SGI 12000-class CPUs, 40 Sun UltraSparc CPUs, and 40 Compaq Alphas will be linked into the grid.

Jokenin said the EBI plans to purchase more PCs for the Linux farm and will subdivide this into several subfarms with a separate LSF domain for the other servers.

While LSF MultiCluster is able to coordinate jobs across multiple geographic locations, Jokinen said the system is limited to a single site for now. However, “there have been discussions to link with the Sanger Center and share resources that way,” he said.

International users of EBI resources will benefit from the grid setup, said Jokenin, because it will facilitate access to its databases and tools through the EBI web-based interface.

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