High-end HPC solution helps ocean analysis company aspire to new depths

 With around 70 per cent of Earth covered by water, it is vital to our economies, daily life and health of the entire planet. For this reason, Mercator Ocean is on a mission. The French oceanic analysing and forecasting centre uses supercomputers to deliver complex 3D simulation systems about the state of the oceans – after all, the more we know, the better we can protect them. The existing solution needed to be replaced and Dell spoke to Bertrand Ferret, Head of IT at Mercator Ocean.

What does it take to capture the ocean?

 Bertrand Ferret: A lot of processing power and very large power consumption. The models incorporate millions of pieces of data, and demand great capacity in terms of memory and performance. When our 232-Gflops R&D system came to the end of its lifecycle, we wanted to greatly increase performance while reducing power and cooling costs.

How did you go about finding a solution?

Bertrand Ferret: We conducted an in-depth survey. I was particularly interested in Dell PowerEdge C-series servers with their flexible processor configurations, but the solution wasn’t available yet. My Dell contact told me about a Dell high performance computing road show. I decided to wait and see it in action. We also received a trial server for onsite testing. That’s when I knew that the Dell PowerEdge C6100 rack server was for us – new nodes can be added as required, creating a high-density infrastructure with excellent processing power.

Oceans don’t stop – even during server installations. How did you minimise disruptions?

 Bertrand Ferret: Dell physically configured the servers and delivered them in just 12 days. Our objective was to install the solution ourselves in less than 15 days, which we achieved.

What has your new infrastructure helped you achieve?
We’ve cut our costs by half and multiplied computing power by six. And with ultra-dense rack servers, we’re not wasting space in the data centre, so we’re not limiting the future evolution of power.

Mercator Ocean is buoyed by its savings and high performance. For the full story, click here.

About the Author: Kathy Mahady