Fall 2016 Services Update to CCR users

Dear CCR Users,


We are well into the swing of the fall 2016 semester!  We have been working at CCR to improve our services and are happy to announce the availability of several new products and initiatives.


1.   Resource Subscription Management Portal (Coldfront) – this portal will allow faculty members to better manage the resources they have access to (clusters, storage, cloud, etc) and the accounts in their group.  You can now add and remove accounts, request additional storage, and view your group’s cloud usage all without going through CCR staff.  Coldfront will be the go-to portal for all group management functions as well as a one-stop spot for links to system status info, help & training documentation, and eventually, a research collaboration tool.  We encourage you to check out all of our Coldfront documentation in Freshdesk starting with: What is Coldfront?  Starting today, we ask all faculty to request new accounts via Coldfront rather than sending requests to CCR help.


2.  Lake Effect Research Cloud – We are very excited to announce the availability of the Lake Effect Research Cloud!  The Lake Effect cloud offers infrastructure-as-a-service to UB faculty and staff for a modest cost.  Built to be compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS), we are confident this new offering will provide UB researchers and support staff with the ability to move quickly from concept to production.  We encourage you to check out all of the Lake Effect documentation starting with:  What is Lake Effect?  If you’re interested in purchasing a subscription for cloud usage, please check out these instructions on how to use the Coldfront portal to do so.


3.  Data Transfer Services – In an effort to provide our users with more options for data transfer and archival storage, we have put a dedicated data transfer server into production.  The name of the server is: transfer.ccr.buffalo.edu and you login to it the same as you would any of the cluster front-end servers.  Users have access to home and project directories but not the util directory where software is installed.  Please use this server only for transferring files to and from CCR.  We believe you’ll find the transfer speeds much faster than the front-end servers.  You can find documentation in our knowledgebase on how to mount UB Box and transfer files to/from it as well, where there is no storage cost.  The latter can be a viable storage solution for data that is not accessed frequently.


4.  Scavenging Nodes - In order  to maximize the use of all cores within our center, we are providing access to nearly all cluster nodes whenever they are idle.  This means that academic users will have access to idle nodes on the industry cluster as well as most of the faculty clusters.  Jobs must be able to checkpoint because a running job utilizing scavenged nodes will be stopped and re-queued if a the primary “owner” of the cluster submits a job to the cluster.  This is a great option for advanced users with short jobs that are not dependent on specific hardware or networking.  Check out the documentation in our knowledgebase about the scavenger options.

5.  Revised Downtime Schedule – We are implementing a new maintenance schedule for all clusters, servers, storage, and networking in our data center.  Knowing about this schedule far in advance will make it easier to plan your computing usage.  Additionally, downtimes are now planned around the academic calendar in order to minimize impacts on faculty who teach classes that utilize CCR resources.  Details on the new downtime plan can be found here


6.  Status Website for all CCR resources -  Still not sure if CCR is doing maintenance or if there is a problem?  Check out our new status webpage for up-to-date incident info

7.  Want a priority boost for your jobs? – Faculty members, in order to receive a priority boost in your group’s jobs, you must have a funded grant that meets the minimum criteria listed here and includes direct funds to CCR.  At minimum, you should budget $2,600 per year (40 hours/year of CCR support staff time at the SPA approved rate of $65/hour for typical projects - higher amounts as appropriate for projects that are expected to more heavily utilize CCR services).  Boosting your group's priority will substantially increase your job throughput.  Please notify CCR Help with your grant information so we can provide you with the boost in queue priority.


As always, we welcome your feedback and are here to support you and your research needs.  Please contact us via our help desk portal at any time:  https://ubccr.freshdesk.com



CCR IT Staff