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    UAE's Ankabut Enhances Its HPC Platform with Huawei

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has achieved remarkable progress in various fields, particularly in research and education. And, with a national vision of becoming a global leader in the field, the country is always looking to advance its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. So, in order to meet evolving technological needs, the UAE's Advanced National Research and Education Network (NREN), Ankabut, has developed a High-Performance Computing (HPC) platform using Huawei OceanStor Pacific scale-out storage.

Recognizing the Significance of Education

The UAE places great importance on education as it seeks to improve its citizens' lives. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has proposed a three-year plan to accelerate higher education development and foster innovation among students. This policy aims to create a supportive environment for scientific research, to ensure that the UAE remains at the forefront of technological development in the region.

Khalifa University and Ankabut's Role

Khalifa University, the UAE's first public research university, plays a vital role driving higher education and scientific research forward. As the largest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service provider in the education sector, Ankabut offers a comprehensive range of services, including HPC, cloud, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions, to educational institutions like Khalifa across the Middle East. As such, the rapid growth of Ankabut reflects increasing demand for scientific research digital solutions.

But Ankabut was facing challenges in ensuring service and support for traditional HPC technologies. The absence of vendor support for its Lustre Storage Area Network (SAN) solution, coupled with the extended lead time for InfiniBand (IB) switches and associated cables, was impacting service rollout and increasing costs. Additionally, the evolving service requirements and high infrastructure costs of HPC presented further challenges. The performance limitations of that Lustre SAN storage system threatened the quality of critical services. Plus, Ankabut's legacy HPC cluster, with its integration of diverse third-party products, posed operational difficulties, resulting in maintenance issues and downtime.

Seamless Implementation and Enhanced Performance

To overcome these challenges, Ankabut turned to Huawei's OceanStor Pacific storage, offering a capacity of approximately 2 PB. Now, this solution not only serves as the data foundation for Ankabut's HPC platform, with a native parallel file— Distributed Parallel Client (DPC) — system, but also supports long-term data archiving, meeting the unified storage needs for files, objects, and big data. The OceanStor Pacific solution enables a shared resource pool for HPC and archiving, streamlines the flow of hot and cold data, and brings the benefits of all-Ethernet architecture with a Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) network. By replacing the Lustre IB solution, procurement and operational costs have been significantly reduced, with shortened lead times and guaranteed high performance.

Huawei conducted Proof of Concept (PoC) tests in Ankabut's live environment, guaranteeing compatibility and establishing confidence and trust. Collaborating with server vendors and partners, Huawei has provided a full-stack solution for storage, network, and compute. The delivery and service rollout of hardware, along with the implementation of the DPC RoCE solution, were completed in just two weeks, with supply continuity and a strong commitment to customer service assured. The solution outperforms the legacy Lustre IB network, meeting diverse service workload requirements.

Embracing Technological Advancements

Driven by the UAE's commitment to national transformation through science and technology, industries such as AI, aerospace, gaming, biotechnology, and nuclear power are gaining prominence. Ankabut's HPC platform, powered by innovative Huawei technologies, is ready to deliver state-of-the-art performance and cater to ever growing demands.

Ankabut, in collaboration with Huawei, has enhanced the UAE's HPC capabilities using scale-out storage solutions. By addressing key challenges and using advanced technologies, Ankabut is fulfilling the UAE's vision of leadership in research and education. And, with a focus on national transformation, the UAE is also driving progress and innovation across diverse industries in the wider region.

"Huawei has brought a fresh perspective to our HPC infrastructure development, offering innovative solutions that have surpassed our expectations. The outstanding performance of Huawei's solution in application environments has been truly exceptional. Particularly noteworthy is the significant enhancement in delivery efficiency that Huawei has provided. Ankabut is fully dedicated to expanding our HPC capabilities through continued collaboration with Huawei, as we firmly acknowledge the immense potential it holds for our organization."

Fahem Al Nuaimi

CEO, Ankabut