Telephone: 0114 2572 200
Email: info@ocf.co.uk

New Sales Leader at OCF DATA

Lee Hannis joins OCF DATA’s growing expertise in Data Analytics

OCF DATA, the analytics and insight division of OCF plc, has appointed Lee Hannis to the role of Sales Leader. Lee will engage with UK organisations in the healthcare, higher education, utilities and manufacturing industries to help design and integrate data analytics solutions using a network of world leading vendor partner technology.

Drawing on previous knowledge and experience as head of business development at the Hartree Centre, Lee will consult with customers on the challenges they face in getting valuable business insights from their data. Lee’s experience of delivering operational data analysis and cognitive solutions will help clients fast track their data strategy and implementation.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from customers around data analytics and the potential it has to enable better business profits as well as improved outcomes for customers” comments Cliff Brereton, Managing Director at OCF DATA. “With Lee’s appointment, we’ll be able to better meet the increasing demand we’re seeing from customers.”

He adds: With Lee’s experience we are able to consult with our customers and prospects on data analytics to help them find the best solution possible – whether that is enhanced workflow management in health care or better student performance for Universities. Lee will be a valuable asset to the team at OCF DATA.”

Lee brings with him a wealth of experience; in his previous role as head of business development, he successfully led bids and developed strategic relationships with clients including Rolls Royce, Unilever, Schlumberger, Barclays and innovative industry thought leaders such as Land Rover BAR and Alder Hey Hospital trust. While responsible for the management and direction of the Business Development team, he also established the data analytics consulting practice and led the pioneering delivery of cognitive technology into healthcare. Previously, Lee led the Government and Civil Agency business unit at UK’s leading biometric and identity specialist, Human Recognition Systems. Whilst there, Lee successfully led the business into national and international contracts delivering some of the most advanced biometric systems into HMPS, UK MoD, DSTL, United Nations, Olympic Delivery Authority and other international agencies.

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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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University of Leeds students get stuck in to HPC

Two students from the University of Leeds have joined OCF as part of their summer internship to expand their experience in working in a High Performance Computing (HPC) environment.

Jamie Roberts and Joshua Crinall, both currently in their second year of a four-year Masters in Computer Science, are spending a week with the OCF engineering team where they are primarily working on the decommissioning of a large HPC system in one location to rebuild at a second site. The internship is part of a broader eight-week internship programme offered by the Advanced Research Computing group at the University which aims to provide practical knowledge of HPC as well as to show how HPC supports scientific computing.

OCF's on-site system administrator Ian McKenna (centre) is pictured with Joshua (left) and Jamie (right) inside the datacentre

OCF’s on-site system administrator Ian McKenna (centre) is pictured with Joshua (left) and Jamie (right) inside the datacentre

Jamie comments: “I am excited to gain experience of working with an experienced and qualified team who deliver bespoke HPC solutions. It is a great opportunity to gain hands-on HPC experience as well as understand the architecture of the various systems. It is interesting to learn how a certain architecture suits a certain set of customer business problems. The experience so far has been brilliant, everybody has been very supportive of our learning, and the working environment is very friendly.”

Joshua comments: “It’s really helped me appreciate what is takes to get a supercomputer up and running and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience. HPC has always been an interesting concept to me; studying computer science, supercomputers always felt out of reach, but working with ARC and OCF has proven otherwise. I think the best thing for me is knowing my work is helping further research that would be impossible without HPC equipment. It really is the cutting edge of computing.”

Russell Slack, Operations Director said: “We are very pleased to have Jamie and Joshua as part of our engineering team. It allows us to provide valuable experience to enthusiastic students in an industry that is lacking such specific skills and knowledge.” Russell goes on to say, “I started my career with OCF as an apprentice 20 years ago and now I’m Operations Director here. It just shows that with hard work and dedication, HPC can be the industry for a successful career.”

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OCF appoints Christopher Brown as OpenStack Engineer

Christopher Brown will lead OCF’s growing expertise in OpenStack

We’re pleased to announce a recent appointment in our technical team. Christopher Brown has joined in the newly created role of OpenStack Engineer. Christopher will engage with UK academia, large enterprise, and research organisations to help design and integrate HPC systems incorporating the open-source and commercially supported versions of OpenStack.

Drawing on previous knowledge as an operations manager, Christopher will consult with customers on the challenges they face building HPC and cloud infrastructures to support research using OpenStack. Christopher’s experience with Linux-based systems, and virtualisation, will help OCF to deliver proof of concepts through to the design and integration of OpenStack HPC systems.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from customers around OpenStack and the potential it has to enable UK academia to develop and connect HPC systems to create or ‘spin up’ larger or more bespoke virtual clusters,” comments Arif Ali, Technical Director at OCF. “OpenStack is natural evolution in HPC and represents a real opportunity for the industry and, with Christopher’s appointment, we’ll be able to better meet the increasing demand we’re seeing from customers.”

He adds: With Christopher’s experience we are able to consult with our customers on OpenStack deployments, helping them find the best solution possible – whether that be commercially supported or open-source OpenStack. Christopher will be a valuable asset to the team at OCF.”

Christopher brings with him a wealth of experience; in his previous role as operations manager he engaged with companies across the UK to build, install and manage IT networks both remotely and on-site. As well as his significant experience with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, Christopher has developed expertise in web servers, networking, and Amazon Web Services. A graduate of the University of Huddersfield in Software Engineering, Christopher specialises in cloud compute and storage, virtualisation and Linux.

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OCF Appoints Arif Ali as Technical Director

Arif Ali to advise on new technologies and continue to improve existing HPC solutions

OCF has appointed Arif Ali to the role of Technical Director. Arif will use his in-depth knowledge of HPC to act as technical advisor to the company and find new and emerging technologies to bring into OCF’s solutions and services.

Arif graduated from Queen Mary, University of London, with an MSc in Computer Science and joined OCF in 2003. He has held roles as HPC Software Engineer, HPC Systems Architect, and Senior HPC Systems Architect, before being promoted to Technical Director.

Since joining OCF, Arif has advanced his skills in cluster benchmarking and HPC generally and has taken a hands-on approach to tackling customer problems and developing appropriate solutions. Arif’s approach has led him to work closely with IBM as a key contributor on the Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit (xCAT).

“HPC is becoming more and more complex and customers require far more heterogeneous solutions, so Arif will help make sure that we’re ahead of the curve and can provide the most technologically advanced and suitable HPC environment for each of our customers,” commented Julian Fielden, Managing Director at OCF. “Plus, 10 years ago, customers simply didn’t know HPC like they do now, they’ve become far more knowledgeable. With new developments such as HPC in the cloud, we needed someone at director level to look at the future of HPC and new technologies so we can continue to provide the very best solutions for our customers.”

He adds: “Arif was the perfect choice for Technical Director, he has an eye for new technologies and we recognised that we needed his technical knowledge and expertise on our board.”

Arif Ali comments: “OCF is continuing to grow and has evolved, as the industry becomes more data centric, into an HPC, big data, storage management and analytics company. I’m excited to have input into the company’s strategy.”

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