ComputerWorld: Xserve Cluster Crunches Bio-data For Lab

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We hear a lot about Appleis latest desktops and notebooks these days -- even ganged PowerMac G5s have been making headlines -- but we seldom hear news of the Xserve and how businesses are using them. Hereis a story from ComputerWorld Singapore about a laboratory that has recently installed Xserves.

Temasek Life Science Laboratory needed some computational horsepower to crunch biological data. The lab chose Xserve and OS X because of hardware specs and the ability to harness unused processing power through distributed computing. According to the article, the ability to use Mac OS X for portables, the desktop, and the cluster also played a role. From the article, Muscling up Apple power:

Dr Elia Stupka (left), Bioinformatics Programme manager, Laboratory of Computational Biology said, "The Xserve is suitable to TTL because the operating system (OS) X Unix-based open source application can be ported and run easily. And integration with specific software tools is seamless."

Other benefits of the Xserve platform is that it offers large local storage which allowed TTL to use RAID sets and the onboard gigabit Ethernet, which guarantee high-speed data transfer over the network.

In addition, he could use the same OS on his desktops, portable computers and network cluster. Stupka sought to tap on the unused computing power of all the devices in the cluster.

TTL uses Platform Computingis LSF workload management solution to optimise the use of enterprise-wide resources by providing transparent on demand access to valuable computing -resources, including the power of distributed computing platforms.

And, a workflow management system, called BioPipe is also used to address some of the complexity involved in carrying out large-scale bioinformatics analysis.

Between the LSF and the BioPipe middle, data-intensive bioinformatics tasks were distributed and dispatched as jobs across the cluster, with each CPU in the cluster operating in parallel.

Read the full story at the ComputerWorld Singapore site.

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