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Email: info@ocf.co.uk

OCF DATA signs agreement with Panintelligence to integrate Business Intelligence and Analytics

We’re pleased to announce that OCF DATA has recently signed a partnership agreement with Panintelligence.

Panintelligence PI allows users to gain a multi-dimensional view of their business, anywhere, any time, and on any device. It offers intuitive dashboards comprised from in-enterprise and third party data from various business process areas. Users drill-down into different data sets for instant analysis and insights that allow management to drive improvements in business or process performance.

Cliff Brereton, Director at OCF DATA comments, “Quite often our customers have all the answers to optimal performance contained within their data, but due to the sheer size of the data held it is impossible to extract these insights and put them to use in optimising performance without appropriate tools such as PI. This is an exciting opportunity for us to help those clients who are wanting to get started with their data journey and deliver better operational performance. Our partnership with Panintelligence will provide the technology and the know-how to make these performance improvements a reality.

The new partnership will see OCF DATA and Panintelligence provide solutions for four key industries; manufacturing, higher education, healthcare and utilities. Both companies will be present as exhibitors at MACH2018 in April, which is the UK’s leading manufacturing technologies event, showcasing how the Panintelligence dashboards can help with optimising production performance, forecasting production volumes & supply chain and enhancing customer engagement.

Zandra Moore, Sales and Marketing Director at Panintelligence commented, “We are delighted to welcome OCF DATA into the Panintelligence partner community. OCF DATA is a strategic adviser and data consultancy business, working in some of our core markets. We look forward to working together to drive the pace of change in these sectors by improving outcomes through self-service data analysis.”

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iRODS Consortium welcomes OCF as newest member

We are pleased to announce that we will now have a role in future iRODS development.

We are the latest organisation to join the iRODS Consortium, the membership-based foundation that leads development and support of the integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS).

A key focus for OCF is helping research organisations meet their requirements for long-term storage of vast quantities of research data. As members of the iRODS Consortium, we will further improve its ability to deliver and support iRODS solutions and will have input into the future development of iRODS to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our customers.

“OCF has long followed the development of iRODS in the community and is excited to work with the consortium to take this to the next level,” said Andrew Dean, OCF business development manager.

The iRODS Consortium is a membership-based organisation that guides development and support of iRODS as free open source software for data discovery, workflow automation, secure collaboration, and data virtualisation. The iRODS Consortium provides a production-ready iRODS distribution and iRODS professional integration services, training, and support. The consortium is administered by founding member RENCI, a research institute for applications of cyberinfrastructure located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

“OCF has a history of providing the best data storage and data management solutions to its customers, so having them as a member of the iRODS Consortium is an excellent fit and a relationship that we look forward to building and nurturing,” said Jason Coposky, executive director of the iRODS Consortium. “We look forward to their input and participation and are pleased to be part of the data management solutions offered to so many UK organisations.”

In addition to OCF, current iRODS Consortium members include Bayer, Dell/EMC, DDN, HGST, IBM, Intel, MSC, the National Institute for Computational Science at the University of Tennessee, Panasas, RENCI, Seagate, University College London, Utrecht University, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

To learn more about iRODS and the iRODS Consortium, please visit irods.org.

 

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OCF achieves Elite Partner status with NVIDIA

OCF has successfully achieved Elite Partner status with NVIDIA® for Accelerated Computing, becoming only the second business partner in Northern Europe to achieve this level.

Awarded in recognition of OCF’s ability and competency to integrate a wide portfolio of NVIDIA’s Accelerated Computing products including TESLA® P100 and DGX-1™, the Elite Partner level is only awarded to partners that have the knowledge and skills to support the integration of GPUs, as well as the industry reach to support and attract the right companies and customers using accelerators.

“For customers using GPUs, or potential customers, earning this specialty ‘underwrites’ our service and gives them extra confidence that we possess the skills and knowledge to deliver the processing power to support their businesses,” says Steve Reynolds, Sales Director, OCF plc. “This award complements OCF’s portfolio of partner accreditations and demonstrates our commitment to the vendor.”

OCF has been a business partner with NVIDIA for over a decade and has designed, built, installed and supported a number of systems throughout the UK that include GPUs. Most recently, OCF designed, integrated and configured ‘Blue Crystal 4’, a High Performance Computing (HPC) system at the University of Bristol, which includes 32 nodes with 2 NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs accelerators each.

In addition, as a partner of IBM and NVIDIA via the OpenPOWER Foundation, OCF has supplied two IBM® Power Systems™ S822LC for HPC systems, codenamed ‘Minsky’, to Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The two systems, which pair a POWER8 CPU with 4 NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPU accelerators, are being used to aid world-leading scientific research projects as well as teaching, making QMUL one of the first universities in Britain to use these powerful deep learning machines. The university was also the first in Europe to deploy a NVIDIA DGX-1 system, described as the world’s first AI supercomputer in a box.

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OCF announces Iceotope as liquid cooling partner

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Iceotope to deliver innovative cooling for the research and academic market

Iceotope, the liquid cooling company, and OCF are now able to offer greater flexibility for high performance computing (HPC) users.

The partnership brings together Iceotope’s cutting-edge cooling technology and our expertise in the HPC market to deliver fast performance without sacrificing space, noise or cost.

A HPC system built around Iceotope’s liquid cooling technology significantly reduces infrastructure, fitting more IT into the same footprint and saving costly floor space. The removal of fans enables total silence and reduced latency, bringing both minimal disruption and maximum performance for our customers.

Steve Reynolds, sales director at OCF, comments: “Iceotope’s novel approach to liquid cooling allows us to deliver compute capability for customers with environments outside the traditional air-cooled data centre – for example, a factory shop floor or an office environment where standard servers are too noisy. Our partnership with Iceotope enables us to provide an alternative and innovative solution for our customers.”

Peter Hopton, founder and technology director at Iceotope, comments: “We’re very pleased to partner with a leading HPC provider such as OCF.

“As processors become hotter, there is major challenge tor traditional cooling technologies to keep up. Thanks to our innovative liquid cooling, a high performance system becomes optimised for today’s workloads, with the added benefit of both significant capex and opex reduction”

 

About Iceotope (www.iceotope.com)

Founded in 2005, Iceotope is a liquid cooling technology company specialising in flexible fan-less cooling solutions for High Performance Computing (HPC), Edge of Network, and Data Centre facilities. Based in Sheffield, UK, and backed by strategic venture capital, Iceotope’s corporate Investors include; OMBU Group and Aster Capital; a strategic investor representing Schneider Electric and Solvay.

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OCF achieves Red Hat Premier Partner for Cloud status

Red Hat Premier partner logo

OCF has achieved Premier Business Partner status with Red Hat

We are delighted to have successfully achieved Red Hat Premier Partner for Cloud status, becoming the first and only Premier Cloud partner in the UK with the ability to provide end to end Cloud services.

Red Hat Premier Cloud status demonstrates OCF’s commitment to Cloud Infrastructure technologies including OpenStack, Containerisation (OpenShift), and Cloud & Virtualised Infrastructure Management through CloudForms.

The level has been achieved through the completion of advanced technical, architecture and sales training and tests to further develop and demonstrate OCF’s expertise in this area.

The Premier level recognises OCF’s contribution to Red Hat and the Red Hat partner ecosystem and enables OCF to have the highest level of visibility at Red Hat and in the marketplace and access to the most competitive Red Hat pricing. The Cloud Infrastructure Specialist status means OCF gets priority when it comes to deploying Red Hat Cloud Solutions with our customers. Additional support and expertise are also available from Red Hat which can provide a rapid and in-depth response to any customer questions.

“We recognise that Red Hat’s Cloud products can offer excellent benefits to our customers. Being a Premier Cloud partner has enabled OCF’s sales and technical teams to develop their knowledge to provide customers with the most innovative solutions to meet their requirements,” says Mahesh Pancholi, business development manager, OCF plc. “This status complements OCF’s partner levels with other vendors and demonstrates our commitment to Red Hat.”

OCF started working in partnership with Red Hat in 2014. Since the partnership commenced installations have been completed at a number of customers including MRC eMedLab.

MRC eMedLab is a shared private-cloud infrastructure that provides efficient high throughput HPC facilities to the seven members of the eMedLab consortium; University College London, The Francis Crick Institute, Kings College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and EMBL-EBI. The solution consists mostly of Lenovo (formerly IBM) Flex Systems and IBM  Spectrum Scale (formerly GPFS) Storage Servers and is controlled using Red Hat’s OpenStack Platform.

A wide range of medical research projects are supported by a private cloud environment, with the focus on building common tools and common ways of analysing and sharing the data. In total, there are over 20 different projects running on the MRC eMedLab infrastructure including a project looking at population levels and the prevalence of HIV and TB, how the pathogen/bacteria evolve and the genetics of human resistance, collaboration on research on rare diseases in children and linking genomics and brain imaging to better understand dementia.

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OCF accredited under SSSNA framework agreement

We’re pleased to announce that we are now accredited to supply and integrate server and storage hardware to UK academia through the IT purchasing framework agreement, Server, Storage and Solution National Agreement (SSSNA). SSSNA, an IT purchasing framework agreement, enables universities, higher education and further education colleges to purchase equipment without the need to go through individual EU tenders. This reduces procurement costs and time.

OCF has over 15 years’ experience of successfully designing and integrating high performance server and storage clusters into UK academia. Our customers include: University College London, King’s College London, Durham University and the University of Birmingham.

“The SSSNA accreditation is further reassurance to our current and prospective customers that OCF understands the requirements and intricacies of UK academia,” says Steve Reynolds, Sales Director, OCF. “SSSNA members will continue to benefit from the most competitive pricing on hardware in the education and research sector, in addition to being supported with our integration expertise. OCF is committed to this programme and that we have a dedicated framework team to help drive the programme into UK academia is testament to that.”

The new framework which started in Nov 2016 is set to last for 4 years and is worth between £200m and £600m. The framework represents higher education institutes across the south of England (SUPC), and is a leading procurement on behalf of a range of other buying groups including the Higher Education Purchasing Consortium for Wales (HEPCW), the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC), the North West Universities Purchasing Consortium (NWUPC), the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC) and the Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC). All members of these regional consortia benefit from:

  • Consistently low pricing on servers and storage technologies
  • Ability to purchase under a pre-tendered framework agreement
  • Exclusive product offers and promotions
  • Experienced technical pre and post-sales consultancy
  • Fully comprehensive support and installation services

The framework is split into four main lots. OCF is listed on Lot 4 but is present with partners on all others:

Lot 1 – Servers (with Lenovo)
Lot 2 – Storage (with Lenovo)
Lot 3a – OEM Led Solutions – Converged, Hyper-Converged, Hybrid & Other (excluding HPC & DIC) (with Fujitsu, Hitachi and Lenovo)
Lot 3b – OEM Led Solutions (High Performance Computing (HPC) & Data Intensive Computing (DIC) (with Fujitsu and Lenovo)
Lot 4 – Reseller Led Solutions (OCF)

If you are interested in hearing more about how our frameworks can support your HPC and storage solutions please get in touch.

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OCF acquires Intense Computing to strengthen analytics expertise

22nd November, HPC, storage and data analytics integrator, OCF, has acquired a majority share of Intense Computing Ltd, a provider of data and analytics consultancy and solutions. Intense Computing will be a subsidiary company of OCF Plc and is being renamed OCF DATA Limited, strengthening and enhancing OCF’s data and analytics service for customers.

The growth in data and analytics together with the Internet of Things (IoT) is estimated to add £322bn to the UK economy by 2020, in addition to creating 182,000 new jobs, according to research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). Its report was based on 409 interviews with senior UK decision makers, as well as official government data.

OCF DATA Limited is led by Prof Cliff Brereton (co-founder Intense Computing Limited), former Director of the Hartree Centre, the World’s largest high performance and data analytics centre devoted to delivering industry-focused solutions. OCF DATA Limited develops transformative solutions using data and analytics for customers, specifically in manufacturing, health, education, construction and Government.

“By acquiring Intense Computing Limited, overnight we are strengthening our expertise and capability to deliver transformative analytics solutions for customers,” says Julian Fielden, managing director, OCF. “The new OCF DATA Limited is now boosting our knowledge in the delivery of Business Intelligence solutions, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, enabling us to better support those customers that increasingly look for innovative solutions and insights using data and analytics.”

“We are excited that new customers are transforming their businesses by adopting Data and Analytics solutions and services designed and delivered by OCF DATA using advanced and market leading analytics technologies from SAS”, Ian Cosnett, SAS.

Since its founding in 2015, Intense Computing has earned its reputation delivering transformative solutions which deliver real ROI from analytics deployments. The acquisition is enabling OCF to deliver Intense Computing’s IP and methods more widely to customers using a new and developing sales and technical team within OCF DATA Limited as well as the existing talent within OCF plc.

“OCF Data has recently delivered a fully hosted data analytics solution to Integrated Radiological Services, built on SAS software. This has significantly reduced our workload in processing clients’ data, allowing our staff to divert their time to using the powerful analytics tools for greater insight. This solution allows IRS to deliver an enhanced service to our customers and will allow us to further develop our services using advanced data analytics”, Mike Moores, Managing Director, Integrated Radiological Services Ltd.

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ANSYS, Lenovo and OCF build CFD-ready HPC Appliance

UK’s first ANSYS CFD-ready HPC appliance eases cluster deployment while boosting engineering productivity

UK engineers requiring High-Performance Computing (HPC) power for their Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations can now purchase a pre-configured, easy-to-deploy, ANSYS-ready HPC ‘appliance’. The plug-and-play appliance is available following a unique partnership between engineering simulation software provider ANSYS, hardware vendor Lenovo and high performance cluster integrator OCF.

With a minimum configuration of two dual-socket compute nodes, even the smallest server cluster appliance in the portfolio can offer twice as much compute performance as even the most powerful workstation. Combined with 24×7 availability and intelligent job scheduling, the appliance can offer up to six times improvement in engineer productivity over a single workstation.

Pre-built, configured and tested with both job scheduling software and ANSYS software, the appliance provides engineers with an advanced structural analysis and CFD environment that is simple and quick to deploy.

“We’ve come across lots of engineers using workstations and laptops to process their ANSYS CFD simulations which restrict use of their device, even for email, until the job is complete,” says Andrew Dean, HPC business development manager, OCF. “The users we speak to are also unsure when their jobs will finish – it could be after a couple of hours or half a day. The job could finish in the middle of the night when they’re unavailable to start a new action. Plus, of course, the job might even have crashed, they wouldn’t know.”

He adds: “The appliance shifts simulation jobs off local workstations to a central resource enabling engineers to truly multi-task. The appliance, complete with job scheduler, enables maximum utilisation of the appliance with the possibility of submitting jobs 24/7.”

Each appliance comes pre-built with a fixed head node, chassis, memory, the latest Intel processors and fixed switches. Each appliance can be easily expanded to fit customer need, because they use blade architecture making it simple to add additional Lenovo NeXtScale compute nodes.

“Our customers are engineering experts, but that expertise doesn’t always stretch to HPC cluster selection and deployment,” says Wim Slagter, lead product manager for HPC, at ANSYS, Inc. “We want to give our customers the best possible experience and, for that reason, we are working with OCF and Lenovo to provide our customers an ANSYS-optimised cluster solution designed for ease of procurement, deployment and operation.”

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OCF joins the OpenPOWER Foundation

OCF will contribute to innovations across the full software and hardware POWER stack

OCF has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, as a silver member.

The OpenPOWER foundation is an open, not-for-profit technical community created to enable today’s data centres to rethink their approach to technology. The aim of the foundation is to create a collaborative ecosystem for members to share expertise, investment, and server-class intellectual property to serve the evolving needs of customers and industry.

OCF joins a growing list of technology organisations working to build and develop advanced server, networking, storage and acceleration technology, as well as industry leading open source software. Aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to developers of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centres, the group makes POWER hardware and software available to open development for the first time. The foundation also makes POWER intellectual property licensable to others, greatly expanding the ecosystem of innovators on the platform.

“We are not only excited about the technology but also the momentum the community is gathering from its members including Google, IBM, Mellanox, the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Universities from across the world, who are working collaboratively to drive innovation in this technology,” says Andrew Dean, OCF business development manager.

“OCF are proud to be associated with the OpenPOWER Foundation,” adds OCF managing director Julian Fielden. “As members of the foundation it will improve OCF’s understanding of what is being achieved within the OpenPOWER community and will enable both OCF and its customers to take advantage of the technology. Using our extensive experience of the UK Research and High Performance sector, it will also give us the opportunity to feed our knowledge and skills back into the community.”

“The development model of the OpenPOWER Foundation is one that elicits collaboration and represents a new way in exploiting and innovating around processor technology,” says Brad McCredie, OpenPOWER President and IBM Fellow. “With the POWER architecture designed for Big Data and Cloud, new OpenPOWER Foundation members like OCF will be able to add their own innovations on top of the technology to create new applications that capitalise on emerging workloads.”
To learn more about OpenPOWER and to view the complete list of current members, visit www.openpowerfoundation.org.

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