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SHARCNET Uses Energy Incentives to Fund Innovation and Growth: Case StudyThe Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET)—a consortium of 17 Canadian universities, colleges, and research institutes—provides world-class high-performance computing (HPC) resources to researchers in a broad range of disciplines. To capitalize on energy-efficiency incentives from the local power distribution company, SHARCNET needed to reduce the energy its clusters consumed. By replacing aging AMD-based servers with new HP ProLiant* servers based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, the consortium can deliver up to 20 times better performance per server while using 95 percent fewer servers to achieve the same overall cluster performance. Energy cost savings are funding capital expenditures that support innovative research.Challenges• Reduce operating costs by capitalizing on energy-efficiency incentives. Earn significant incentives from the local power distribution company and free funding for new capital expenditures by reducing power consumption of HPC clusters—without sacrificing capacity or performance.• Make room for growth. Reduce the power, cooling, and real estate needed to support future expansion of HPC resources.Solution• HP servers based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family. SHARCNET replaced aging AMD-based servers with new HP ProLiant* SL230 servers equipped with the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family.Technology Results• Improved single-node performance by 20 times. Better raw processing power plus greater core and socket density enable the new servers to deliver 20 times the performance per node of previous servers.• Increased cluster density by 95 percent. Replacing 768 servers with just 40 based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, SHARCNET has gained significant data center space for future expansion.• Reduced energy consumption and costs. By using fewer nodes to deliver the same performance, SHARCNET reduced energy demand, earned a CAD 137,000 incentive from the local power distribution company, and is saving over CAD 200,000 per year.Business Value• Accelerated research. Researchers using single nodes for workloads can capitalize on performance gains to speed results.• Freed funding for capital expenditures. The member institutions can use energy cost savings to fund new capital investments that will help support additional, larger, and more complex research projects.Read the full SHARCNET Uses Energy Incentives to Fund Innovation and Growth Case Study.
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