The challenge for this client was to run a high performance computing application on the Windows platform that did not fit into the standard HPC or Virtual infrastructure solutions offered by their IT business. The application team was dealing with performance problems while running simulation jobs. They also faced long delays in provisioning new servers to meet the demands for the number of jobs being scheduled.
In this case the client needed an automated infrastructure process that would enable the application team to deploy server infrastructure themselves. The solution had to provision fully deployed servers that would immediately be ready for use in their application. In their previous environments builds were manual, error prone, and took weeks or months delaying simulations and ultimately impacting the business. The client also needed a flexible environment that would allow them to leverage their custom framework that uses grid processing to execute jobs across multiple nodes.
After exploring the problems facing the client, LTI recommended a private cloud architecture design that would help them overcome the delays and rigid build process in their existing environment. LTI’s design offered a full Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform to support the client application stack. The private cloud would also provide the ability to scale to meet job needs.
To handle the automated server provisioning problem LTI developed a self-service portal application that empowers the client team to deploy customized servers rapidly.
The private cloud architecture relies on the VMware hypervisor and the turnkey cloud software Apache CloudStack. CloudStack has a full featured RESTful API that enabled LTI to build its custom cloud portal application called AgI.
The client application stack included Windows 2008/2012, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5/6, Apache, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, Angular JS, Spring Boot, and custom internal applications. LTI worked with the client to build customized images for each of their server types. These machine images are presented to the client as a step in the server provisioning process in the AgI portal.
With AgI the client application team can provision compute and storage resources themselves. This has reduced their build times to minutes and greatly increased performance by allowing them to scale to a fleet of servers. AgI provides inventory reporting, billing metrics, and access controls to the client giving them control over their enterprise. AgI was also developed to be flexible to meet future client needs and has the ability to manage resources in public clouds such as AWS in addition to CloudStack.
The private cloud solution resulted in several benefits for this client: