The Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute is eagerly preparing to move back into the newly built Paterson building located in Manchester. Back in 2017, the old Paterson building was destroyed by fire. Previously, OCF had provided significant amounts of equipment, including High Performance Computing (HPC) and Storage. At that time OCF helped move all the computing equipment from Manchester to Alderley Park in Cheshire. Now we are coming full circle after six (6) years. We are helping CRUK move back to Manchester. This exciting development will provide them with state-of-the-art facilities to continue their vital research efforts in the fight against cancer. Time was of the essence when moving all the equipment so that the scientists could continue their work with the minimum of disruption.
OCF as an IT solution specialist with expertise in HPC, Storage, Cloud, and AI solutions, worked alongside IT and Scientific Computing (SciCom) Team to relocate the facility back to Manchester. The project involved an incredible amount of coordination to decommission, transport, and install a significant amount of computer hardware and cabling.
The relocation was particularly challenging due to the complex and interdependent nature of the systems. The team had to ensure that all hardware was carefully and securely transported, reassembled, and reconfigured at the new data centre to guarantee that the systems could operate as expected. Time was also a challenge, as the relocation had to provide minimal disruption to the Institute, so that when the scientist moved to the new facility, they could immediately start where they left off. Adding to the challenge, was the fact that the building was brand new and never been occupied.
In a total of eight days, OCF and SciCom successfully relocated 46 servers, 25 storage enclosures, 19 switches, one large tape library, and hundreds of cables and tapes from Alderley Park data centre to the new Paterson data centre.
The computing infrastructure that OCF and SciCom installed is crucial for processing the large amounts of data extracted from various samples. This data includes DNA sequencing of tumour samples, high-content imaging, and mass spectrometry experiments. The high-performance computing systems are expected to be used extensively by CRUK MI researchers in their quest to better understand the mechanisms of cancer and develop new treatments.
In conclusion, the project has come full circle, moving the equipment from Manchester to Alderley Park and back again. The relocation of the SciCom facility at CRUK MI was a significant undertaking that required significant expertise and experience in HPC and data management. OCF and the SciCom team's ability to successfully relocate the facility within a short timeframe is a testament to our expertise and collaborative approach. The new computing infrastructure will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the advancement of cancer research and bring us one step closer to finding new and better treatments for this devastating disease.