Sungard Builds Grid From DR Workstations

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As a disaster recovery specialist, Sungard Availability Services has an armada of workstations in its facilities for that “what if” moment, ready to provide an instant operations center in the event a disaster affects a client. But what about the rest of the time?

The company has decided to put these computers to work through a new initiative called the Responsible Computing Project. Sungard is using more than 1,000 disaster recovery workstations in its Philadelphia, New York and Chicago data centers to create a computing grid that will perform processing for scientific and humanitarian projects.

When workstations are needed for customer testing or disaster recovery, the Responsible Computing Project allows volunteer jobs to be immediately suspended. The workstation is then automatically converted to its customer’s desktop image, with no impact to either the volunteer project or the customers’ recovery objectives. When the workstations are no longer in use, the volunteer computing projects will resume automatically.

“The Responsible Computing Project exemplifies SunGard’s commitment to harnessing our available resources to address scientific problems, aid in humanitarian efforts and benefit the greater good,” said Steve Buckus, vice president, operations, recovery services at SunGard Availability Services.

The SunGard Responsible Computing Project provides unused central processing units (CPUs) to several volunteer research projects, including:

  • World Community Grid, which is making technology available to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research efforts. SunGard is currently ranked in the top 50 worldwide providers for total CPU credits for the World Community Grid.
  • Docking@Home, which uses volunteer CPUs to perform scientific calculations that aid in the creation of new and improved medicines. The project aims to help cure diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). SunGard said it is currently the leading contributor of total CPU credits for this project worldwide.
  • PrimeGrid, a project dedicated to the discovery of prime numbers, as well as providing relevant educational materials about prime numbers. SunGard is currently the number one contributor of total CPU credits for this project worldwide.
  • Einstein@Home, which uses idle computing time to search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) and radio pulsars in binary systems. SunGard is currently ranked in the top 50 world-wide providers for total CPU credits for the Einstein@Home project.

The SunGard Responsible Computing Project is facilitated via the University of California Berkeley’s Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) platform, a free software structure available to any individual or organization wishing to participate in volunteer computing projects.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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