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Hutch Snags $10M in NCRR Funding for New Data Center and Hardware

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The National Center for Research Resources has awarded two grants worth more than $10 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for new computing capabilities.

One grant, a $9.6 million award from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will fund the construction of a 2,300-square-foot energy-efficient data center that is scheduled to be operational by late 2012.

The new data center will offer around 500 kilowatts of power, doubling the center's existing capacity.

The center also received a $500,000 grant under the NCRR's shared instrumentation grant program to purchase a new cluster that will add to more than 1,200 servers that it currently operates across several different locations.

The new cluster will support more than 30 groups in 13 different research programs at the center, including applications in protein folding, flow cytometry, infectious disease and HIV modeling, proteomics, genome-wide association studies, and high-throughput sequencing.

Tony Bozzuti, CIO at the Hutch, told BioInform that sequencing and imaging-related applications will likely stand to benefit the most from the new cluster.

According to the abstract for the instrumentation grant, the upgrade will retire 60 of the oldest nodes in the center's current cluster and add 123 new nodes "to achieve a cluster capacity of 306 nodes with 1, 2, and 4-core CPUs."

The new system will offer a 150 percent increase in processing power and a 300 percent increase in memory capacity over the current cluster, and will accommodate "the recent 80 percent growth in computing-intensive research" at the center, according to the abstract.

"Several of our researchers are currently experiencing substantial delays in accomplishing their work using our current system," the abstract states. "Others have projects that cannot be done at all on the existing instrument."

As for the specific hardware that the center will install, "we haven't decided yet on vendors," Bozzuti said. "Our target date is to be up and running by the latter part of 2012, so we want to be careful not to pick something that won't be current."

The center has also not decided on vendors for its storage needs, "but I could see us moving well beyond a petabyte as part of this data center build," Bozzuti said.

The Hutch expects to submit a design for the data center to NCCR by the end of July.

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