Research Computing at Rutgers: Present and Future
From: Office of the Senior Vice President for Research <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 1:32 PM
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Research Computing at Rutgers: Present and Future
Dear Research Colleagues,
Thank you for taking the time to read this important message regarding the present and future of research computing at Rutgers University. We want to thank you for supporting the Office for Advanced Research Computing (OARC). When we launched this program in 2016, we were uncertain about the research community’s response to a centrally managed research computing and data service. We are now in our 6th year of operation. The number of people requesting access to and using OARC-maintained systems, attending training sessions, and including OARC on grants has grown well beyond what we imagined. So, thank you for making this happen.
The purpose of our message is twofold – acknowledge current growing pains and outline the next steps for future planning.
First, we address our growing pains. With the OARC program’s success and increases in the range of services, we are now facing an unexpected challenge that directly impacts the time it takes to stand up new services. The core issue is that we are reaching the physical and environmental (power and cooling) limits of the University’s existing data centers on all campuses. For almost all new equipment coming in, we must either remove older equipment or reconfigure racks situated on the floor, which leads to upgrading power distribution units, re-cabling, and installing new network gear. Our support teams are working as quickly as possible to add new services, but the technical path from purchase to provisioning is taking much longer than it has in the past. We realize this has become a frustration point and appreciate your patience as we reduce the current queue.
Second, we address our future planning. While we are confident we can resolve short-term issues, we must focus on our long-term strategy for expanding services to address continually increasing demand. With that goal in mind, we will be engaging the Vice Chancellors for Research, the OARC advisory committee, and the Rutgers research community at large in a series of planning exercises and discussions focused on future demands and expectations. Working very closely with the research community, we need to define the high-performance computing and storage of the future to include capacity requirements, analytic processing, machine learning, storage, and support services. We also need to consider how cloud offerings can enhance our model and whether we need a new data center.
We will keep you posted on our progress to overcome this challenge, and we thank you for your patience and understanding. In the meantime, if you have thoughts on any of these topics and would like to be involved in the process, let us know.
Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Michael E. Zwick, Ph.D.
Sr. Vice President for Research