Barcelona, March 26th 2020 — To extend the current services to easier and more contemporary frameworks and workflow managers, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre (Perth, Western Australia) partnered with HPCNow! to upskill the operations and end-user support teams in the open-source container-orchestration system Kubernetes.

Pawsey Supercomputing Center is an Australian government-supported High-Performance Computing (HPC) national facility and one of the leading supercomputing centres offering container technologies to the research community. Pawsey is an unincorporated joint venture of CSIRO – Australia’s national science agency, and the four public universities in Western Australia, that provides services in the areas of supercomputing, data management and analysis, and visualisation.

On the other side, Kubernetes is a widely used generic container-orchestration solution for automating application deployment, scaling, and management. Moreover, it has evolved to result in a powerful solution for HPC and Artificial Intelligence (AI) workflows, suitable to complement and interact with the current supercomputing and cloud capabilities of Pawsey.

The 10-day Kubernetes training course was split into two groups to ensure continuity of Pawsey’s services. HPCNow! covered topics ranging from a generic Kubernetes vision through to HPC and AI-oriented batch job scheduling using AWS resources. By the end of the training course, Pawsey staff achieved the primary of productively interacting with a production-ready solution. Additionally, attendees were able to test a variety of on-premises solutions and to run prototype Nextflow and Kubeflow workflows on top of them.

“This training has been relevant for my role at Pawsey. I have learnt the key aspects of the Kubernetes world, including its jargon, components, and procedures. I now feel confident I am able to cooperate with our operations team in the deployment of Kubernetes solutions. Most crucially, I am ready to assist researchers in porting their workflows onto Kubernetes clusters”, says Marco De La Pierre, Supercomputing Applications Specialist at Pawsey.

This knowledge is going to play an important role within the bioinformatics field. The Australian BioCommons – of which Pawsey is a key partner -, is an ambitious new digital capability that will enhance Australian research in its ability to understand the molecular basis of life across environmental, agricultural and biomedical sciences. At a European level, the equivalent would be ELIXIR, an intergovernmental organisation that unites Europe’s leading life science organisations in managing and safeguarding the increasing volume of data being generated by publicly funded research. ELIXIR objective is to coordinate, integrate and sustain bioinformatics resources – as databases, software tools, training materials, cloud storage and supercomputers – across its member states.

HPCNow! CTO Jordi Blasco at the training course of Kubernetes at Pawsey Supercomputing Center.

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