UK Met Office Installs SPICE System
October 20, 2016
Met Office, the United Kingdom's national weather service, selected
three HPC vendors to provide high performance computing capabilities for
its new Scientific Processing and Intensive Compute Environment (SPICE)
system. SPICE will enable weather and climate researchers to
dramatically reduce time required to analyze massive amounts of climate
The Met Office is a world leading weather forecasting and climate
prediction organization that conducts research designed to protect lives
and increase prosperity. The institution's 500 scientists conduct
research using data-intensive, high-resolution models to increase
forecast accuracy and provide a deeper understanding of climate change.
The Met Office required a powerful system for post-processing data and
analysis downstream of the primary HPC facility. As a result, the UK Met
chose SGI to power its SPICE initiative and upgrade its Managed Archive
Storage System (MASS).
SGI was selected by the Met Office for its value and performance,
allowing users to more easily manage multiple servers and increase
system utilization rates. Following the installation in April 2016, the
Met Office's researchers experienced a positive increase in processing
capacity, furthering their understanding of meteorology on a global
To support the growth in its MASS which is a critical adjunct to the Met
Office's supercomputer system archive, the Met Office selected SGI's
solution with DDN storage. MASS acts as a repository or archive for the
data resulting from scientific research carried out on the supercomputer
as well as global observational data. By 2020, this crucial storage
archive is predicted to grow to about 300 Petabytes of weather and
climate research data.
To build a well-rounded, turnkey system, the Met Office chose to
integrate Bright Cluster Manager for HPC to deploy the new SPICE cluster
over bare metal, providing single-pane-of-glass management for the
hardware, operating system, HPC software, and users. The Met Office also
chose to install Bright OpenStack to enable the IT team easy deployment,
provision, and management of its OpenStack-based private-cloud
fact that Bright's solutions can be administered from a single point of
control was a consideration in the Met Office's decision-making process.
With the combined solution of compute, OpenStack, and storage, the Met
Office can scale SPICE storage predictably while delivering
high-throughput performance to handle simultaneous data reads/writes.
Using the SGI system, the Met Office's researchers can spin up virtual
machines easily and operate their own private virtual environment with
full control and direct access to their local network. In addition, they
can easily increase the capacity of the virtual environment merely by
adding more servers to the OpenStack environments.
Scientists using SPICE have already noted significant performance
advantages over previous systems, enabling far quicker analysis to
support ongoing research. Massive volumes of data are now analyzed in
several hours, rather than days. The improvements support and enhance
ongoing development of meteorological and climate change research.