- National Center offering comouting resources and storage capacity
- Flexible services without apriori resource allocation
- Collaboration with research teams as well as single reserachers
- Collaboration through joint research projects
- Research and development in the area of flexible infrastructures
- Open Access
Within the context of the national e-Infrastructure, Center CERIT-SC focuses on the highly flexible real time computing and storage resources provisiong.
The virtualized computing and storage resources, available through novel interfaces combining grid and cloud environment, represent unique installation in the Czech Republic and even in the Central Europe and eventually even larger region.
Center CERIT-SC offers two kinds of storage resources: High-capacity data storage (Hierarchical Storage Management, HSM) and Shared networked storage depot for work data. Development, management and operation of these storage resources are the responsibility of the Data Storage activity.
Clusters of two kinds represent the computing resources of the Center: SMP (Symmetric MultiProcessing, nodes with more than 64 cores in with shared memory each) and HD (High Density, nodes with usually 16-20 cores sharing a single memory). Together, these two cluster types cover a very wide spectre of demands for computing capacity. Development, management and operation of the clusters are the responsbility of the Computing activity.
Center CERIT-SC is also involved in the building of the European Grid Infrastructure EGI.
Highly flexible access to resources, without any need for a-priori resource allocation, is the main feature that distinguishes Center CERIT-SC from standard supercomputing centers, including ways the newly built supercomputing center IT4Innovations will offer its computing capacity. Use of cloud technology and interfaces, integrated into the national grid infrastructure, allows to fulfill very fast unexpected and unplanned user's requests. The more easily planned and forethought (often long term) requests for computing capacity will be taken care of through more standard allocation processes of the IT4Innovations supercomputing center, complementing thus the CERIT-SC offer. Also, Center CERIT-SC will be able to prepare users for better planing of their resource allocation requests for more conservative resources of supercomputing centers.
Apart from running resources the core of Center CERIT-SC activitiy lies in the close collaboration with end users and research teams, where it either continue in already established or developes new research collaboration. This is in clear distinction to the approach of CESNET association, whose primary targets are institutions and resource owners.
Center's users are also research partners, participating on the research and development activities and also in the direct utilization of Center's research results. Both short term collaboration over a specific problem and especially a long term research collaboration (including joint third party funded projects) is supported.
Researchers from the Center collaborate with Center's users on continuous improvement of services. methods, and tools, and they develop new algorithms, programs, forms and means to use the computing and storage capacities, regardless whether Center's own or belonging to other parties, including end users themselves
Center CERIT-SC works closely with the Faculty of Informatics and other parts of the Masaryk University, including heavy involvement of graduate students into the Center's research activities.
Center CERIT-SC research and development activities targets specifically areas directlty related to the operation and wide use of the technologies available in the Center. These activities include planning (virtual clusters, preemption, startegies, ...), virtualization, grid and cloud systems, optimization, parallelization and novel methods of compouting (with a very strong involvement of user's groups and their needs), security (authentication, authorization, identiity federations), computer modelling and simulations, and manipulation with very large data volumes.
Access to all the resources (hardware and software) and services is available for free to all bona fide researchers and students belonging to Czech universities and research community in general. This is analogous to the way access is granted to the academic network in the Czech Republic. This access does not need any formal pre-allocation. Some limits constrain use of resources for standard users, but these limits encourage initiation of potentially interesting and fruitfull research while simultaneously limiting potential large misuse of resources when not associated with high quality research. Important users are prioritized (their limits expanded) in an automated way, based on evaluation of their research results achieved with the use of Center's resources. This evaluation uses standard approaches as defined by the national Council for Science, Development and Innovations. The long term experience gained with a similar approach in the SCB and MetaCentrum confirms this approach motivates young scientists at the beginning of their research carrier, giving them access to sufficient resources, while does not hinder extensive use of the whole e-Infrastructure by top scientific teams.
Being part of the EGI infrastructures, the resources of Center CERIT-SC are also available to users from abroad. A standard way is through recommendation of a Czech research teams already using the resources (through a particular Virtual Organziation) or through joint international projects with the Center and/or its users.