The computing services department consists of five teams covering a broad spectrum of technology disciplines. While each team provides distinctly different services, the department is designed to facilitate cross-team collaboration with the goal of providing more effective, efficient solutions by working together in a multidisciplinary manner to solve business problems with cutting edge technology.
Work in Computing Services is full of diverse technical challenges, such as the development of sensor data collection systems, support of high performance computing clusters, creation of field-based spatial tools and development of tools to assist with the analysis of plant DNA. Exciting opportunities abound for those talented in technical disciplines and with the ability to work in a very collaborative team environment.
Bioinformatics and Research Support
Consisting of both scientists and programmers, this team covers a broad range of disciplines and skill sets, providing computational support services to researchers in agriculture, forage improvement and basic plant science. Group members are experienced in bioinformatics, experimental design, computer programming, data analysis and scientific writing.
Business and Scientific Solutions
The business and scientific solutions team works closely with all of the Noble Foundation's divisions to architect, procure, implement and maintain technology solutions. Their primary focus is to implement innovative software solutions to enable the advancement of business and scientific activities at the Noble Foundation.
Enterprise and Endpoint Infrastructure
The enterprise and endpoint Infrastructure team manages a modern, highly virtualized data center and is responsible for all server, storage, telecommunications and network systems. They also provide desktop and mobile device support for all Noble Foundation staff.
Library and Information Management
The library and information management team serves the researchers at the Noble Foundation by providing a host of information services. In addition to traditional print and digital library services, this team has strategically positioned itself to provide research data management, data curation, digital asset management and archival services.
Spatial Technology Services
The spatial technology services team provides the Noble Foundation with geographic information systems (GIS) support to enable efficient and effective research based on collaborator needs. In the ever-changing world of GIS, this team focuses on providing the Noble Foundation with unique tools and data to help visualize landscapes and support research outcomes.
High Performance Computing
The department maintains two high performance computing clusters. The first is an IBM 1350 blade center high performance computing (HPC) cluster with 27 computing nodes. The total of the nodes provides 272 CPU cores, with 648 GB of distributed memory and 16 TB of scratch storage. The IBM blade center is used for distributed computing such as reference sequence alignment and BLAST searches. The second cluster is a ScaleMP vSMP high performance cluster with 10 HP ProLiant DL385 G7 servers. The ScaleMP vSMP provides a total of 120 CPU cores and 2 TB aggregative memory. The ScaleMP vSMP provides an environment for large-memory computing applications such as de novo assembly and gene regulatory network prediction.
Virtual Server Environment
The department manages two VMWare virtual server farms. Each farm is designated for specific activities. The first farm is comprised of six HP DL380 ESX hosts for a total of 68 cores and 236 GB of memory. The farm's primary function is to host enterprise shared virtual servers. Most virtual servers in the enterprise farm use a Microsoft operating system. These virtual servers host functions that include database servers, Web servers, intranet servers and hosted application servers.
The department also manages an additional VMWare virtual server farm specifically used for scientific computing activities. The scientific farm is comprised of eight HP ProLiant DL585 G5 ESX servers for a total of 288 CPU cores and 1120 GB memory. The scientific farm hosts a variety of virtual servers that run various Linux distributions and Microsoft operating systems. The farm's virtual servers are used for scientific software development, testing, Web server and database hosting, public and internal services, internal user desktops, and application servers.
Enterprise and User Infrastructure
Built in 2006, the Administration Building houses the data center for computing services and activities. The data center contains 2,025 square feet of usable floor space, and we currently have a total of 20 data cabinets that contain 42u each for a total of 840u of total rack space. The data center also contains redundant cooling and power systems. Critical systems are also connected to our 160 kVA UPS system for extended power outages.
The department manages a total of 216 TB of high availability usable storage. The storage environment is built upon two Netapp 3240 storage controllers (seven-mode cluster) and provides 143 TB of usable storage. Additionally, one Netapp 3240 is maintained at a remote location for backup and disaster recovery, and provides 73 TB of usable storage. Core networking is built upon one Cisco 6509-E platform providing 192 1GigE and 32 10GigE ports.