OSC Supercomputers Benefit From New Home

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 16, 2002) — 

With extensive planning and assistance from a network of associates, OSC finished moving all supercomputing and memory systems to a new home this month. The new systems will be consolidated in a secure environment at the State of Ohio Computing Center (SOCC) in Columbus, Ohio, providing OSC with a secure and reliable facility with custom-based infrastructure.

"The SOCC facility provides full uninterruptable power service (UPS) for all OSC systems. This will eliminate power outages and help reduce other hardware failures," said Al Stutz, OSC Associate Director. "Inconsistent power creates problems for computers. The SOCC gives us, for the first time, a UPS system robust enough to handle power demands from the Cray systems and clusters."

The first phase of the move in April proceeded without a hitch as existing clusters at the SOCC were moved two floors to OSC's new space. The second phase transferred existing systems from the Kinnear Road Center space leased from The Ohio State University (OSU) for over a decade, to SOCC.

"The move went pretty much as planned," said OSC Kevin Wohlever, Senior High Performance Computing Systems Specialist and Moving Coordinator. "There were no major problems and we had the systems back to the users ahead of schedule."

By the middle of May, all OSC public access systems were moved to the SOCC. This included the Sun Center of Excellence in High Performance Computing Environments (COE-HPCE) systems, all cluster systems, mass storage systems, the SGI Origin 2000, Cray SV1, and all support systems. The statewide software license servers, WEBCT servers, and OSC web server are all now housed at the SOCC.

Teams from Compaq, Cray, Sun, and IBM worked closely with OSC staff to assemble and test the systems. Cray assisted in moving the SV1 system; SGI moved the Origin 2000 and MSS system; IBM, the tape robot; and Sun, the COE systems. OSC contracted with Commercial Movers, a local firm, to move the equipment.

"The SOCC staff and Don Perkins of OSU's Office of Information Technology should be commended for their effort to keep the small problems from becoming larger," noted Wohlever.

SOCC was designed to solve the major electrical, mechanical, and security problems common to the operation of all large data centers. Built to centralize state agency data centers in one location and to share technologies and operating costs, the existing $63 million SOCC is the largest state-owned facility of its kind in the Midwest. This state-of-the-art facility provides maximum security, climate control and fully redundant electrical and mechanical support systems. The facility contains 360,000 square feet of space, including a 225,000 square foot computer room.

OSC will benefit by the reliability built into the SOCC facility. Reliable utility backup systems were designed to keep all computers online at all times. In the event of a service power failure, the systems include UPS capabilities to supply power to the computers for a maximum of 30 minutes as standby generators come on line. The backup generators have a total capacity of 11,750 kilowatts. The generators have enough fuel to run the facility on its own power for days.

To ensure continuous power to the facility, the SOCC is fed electricity from two sources of electrical power, with automatic transfer from one to the other as needed. The services feed the facility's critical power systems: UPS power to the computer equipment, mechanical equipment and office/support operations. The UPS power is distributed through two vertical bus risers to a series of power distribution units that provide power to the computer systems. The SOCC also provides UPS backup for all workstations.

Just as the electrical power must not be interrupted, the computers must also be cooled continuously. The facility would be rendered inoperable in less than 15 minutes without backup cooling in the event of a utility outage. This facility requires 5,000 tons of cooling.

The facility's raised floor areas are cooled by self-contained computer room heating and air conditioning (A/C) units. One of every five A/C units on each computer floor is a standby unit to pick up the load if one unit fails. Heat from the A/C unit compressors is ejected outdoors through cooling towers which are staged into service as needed by the Building Management Computer System.

More information on the OSC systems and applications are available on the technical information server at http://oscinfo.osc.edu/.

-Written by Kathryn Kelley, External Relations Coordinator