This will be the first UK install of both BlueField-2 and Gen-Z for HPC. Prior expertise in BlueField-1 exists at Durham, with an earlier 16 node system already in operation. Both of these systems will be integrated with COSMA, allowing the existing login nodes, LDAP servers and administration consoles to be used. Users will be able to request an account through the SAFE system managed by EPCC.
BlueField-2 technology is not yet available on the market, and so we will be getting pre-release access for this proof of concept (PoC) cluster. BlueField-2 has significant advantages over the original BlueField-1 cards, namely increased processing power and clock rate of the embedded ARM cores.
This is therefore an ideal time to realise this test cluster environment, placing the UK on the leading edge of this novel technology. The expertise exists within Durham based on experience with BlueField-1 systems.
Gen-Z technology is also not yet available on the market. However, Durham University have joined the Gen-Z consortium, and will have access to pre-market proof of concept equipment which will be obtained as part of this proposal. This will place the UK in an advantageous position to test and evaluate this new technology.