Early Skylake server testing underway

Intel have kindly donated a full reference evaluation system so we can see what, if any, improvements our bio-informatics pipelines may realise on this new hardware platform. The model is the :

Intel(R) Xeon(R) Platinum 8170 CPU @ 2.10GHz

Intel’s ARK details are available here:


and of course, wikipedia are here:


We are looking to gauge interest in their conjoined Skylake FPGA offering. If anyone is interested we can gain access to a test system.

AMD systems are also looking very interesting:


We are looking to start evaluating their hardware very soon…. Finally a decent takeoff opportunity !

FCE 300% network performance improvement !

After working with Mellanox we have managed to realize a 300% network performance improvement across our flexible compute environment ! This is a huge impact on the service and dramatically reduces VM to VM communication.

A kernel upgrade was required for most of the uplift. It appears that the drivers and firmware provided in the default redHat kernel are sub-optimal.

Hashicorp course notes

So having attended the Washdays in London last week, we now have the slides from the Terraform and Consul courses available. They are available for Sanger Google account holders only and are available here:


OpenStack Upgrade Investigations Completed

We have evaluated the RedHat Openstack Newton release and we have confirmed that it is safe to proceed with an upgrade of our flexible compute environment (FCE) over the summer to this new release!

As part of the upgrade we have been able to incorporate CVX network support. This ads direct switch management through OpenStack, rather than the previously inelegant Neutron layer that OpenStack otherwise uses. This is the first big step towards rolling out new systems as bear metal via OpenStack!

Secure Lustre

Having worked with DDN, our team have managed to put together a lustre system that is multi-tenant capable. We have a video presentation link on our presentations page and the system is currently in alpha testing on our Flexible compute platform. Could this be the high performance POSIX filesystem that will help migrate existing HPC applications to the flexible compute platform ?!


Scientific Computing @ Sanger

Welcome to our Scientific Compute blog

The Wellcome Sanger Institute has been at the forefront of genetics research for two decades. Such a computationally demanding, dynamic and world leading genetics research institute requires a matching scientific compute environment, to meet it’s diverse and evolving research objectives.

We hope that these pages will provide a window into our teams R&D and administration activities as we look to address this rapidly developing environment.

Our teams homepage and an overview of our group can be found here: