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Research Computing Hosting

Overview

The University IT Technical Facilities department provides research cluster hosting services in a controlled environment for computer servers and networking equipment. This environment is run as a University resource, providing secure and reliable services for University networking, computing and data applications. The research cluster hosting service is available to Stanford University faculty.

The research computing space is about 5100 sq. ft and can host approximately 68 server racks with a power capacity of just over 1MW. The space is designed and intended for pre-racked equipment, but racks and power distribution units (PDUs) are available for an additional cost where the researcher has pre-existing rack-mounted servers needing rack space. The average rack density of these racks is 16kW. The space has been designed to be similar to the spaces researchers might have in their own schools. Researchers have the option to replace pre-installed cabinets with vendor-populated and wired cabinets. The Research Computing facility provides the following services:

  • Secured entry
  • 24 X 7 monitoring of environmental control systems
  • Controlled temperature
  • Fire detection and suppression
  • Water intrusion sensors
  • Sufficient power for all installed equipment with visual usage information
  • An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to protect against power anomalies
  • Adequate but not redundant battery backup and standby generator to maintain normal operations during a power outage
  • Pre-existing standard racks for researchers who cannot provide pre-racked equipment
  • Assistance with installing researcher-provided, vendor-populated racks
  • Receiving services
  • Assistance with coordinating purchases
  • 10gig network connections to the campus backbone and to the researcher-provided switch in the cluster

Additional service offerings may be available from University IT at standard rates.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Description of Services

Planning

Hosting requests, of necessity, require close coordination between the researcher and the research computing facility, particularly for:

  • specification of equipment
  • physical space required
  • power consumption requirements
  • networking

University IT staff will work with the researcher or their staff during and after the grant-writing process to ensure that any equipment will meet the standards for the Forsythe data center, and to schedule and coordinate the delivery, installation and removal of all hardware.

Researchers are strongly encouraged to have discussions about any additional space needs and hardware standards before any orders for equipment are placed.

To initiate an order for space in the Research Computing area of Forsythe Hall, work with your University IT Business Partner to jointly submit a HelpSU ticket.

Installation and Deployment

University IT will provide assistance in the installation of pre-racked and cabled equipment.  The researcher and/or their staff are solely responsible for the provisioning of ready-to-install 16kW racks, including servers, within- and across-rack networking, storage and other hardware needs.  University IT will provide the following assistance at no charge:

  • Connectivity to power and external network cable
  • Seismic anchoring
  • Rear door mounting
  • Mounting of monitoring sensors

If additional assistance is needed to install or cable specific devices, the researcher is expected to provide specifications in the form of rack elevation and cable diagrams with detailed instructions. Standard hourly University IT staff rates will apply.

If the hardware to be installed in an University IT-provided rack are servers, they must be rack mountable and equipped with rails suitable for installing in 4 post racks.

If the researcher provides equipment that is already installed in the rack, the rack must meet standards for the Forsythe Research Computing facility. This is necessary due to the power and cooling requirements of the facility. Racks and cabinetry must be seismically anchored during time of installation. Equipment racks located next to each other will also be ganged together.

University IT does not provide a service for the disposal of researcher owned equipment at this time and therefore it is the researcher’s responsibility to provide for the packaging and crating of equipment, where applicable, when moving equipment out of the data center.

Due to University insurance requirements, no combustible materials may be stored in the data center computer room.

All racks and installed equipment installed must be labeled with the installation date, owner name and emergency contact information. All equipment must have a Stanford University property tag. A template will be provided. Contact your local Departmental Property Administrator for assistance with property tagging. To have equipment received at Forsythe, please use the procedure in Appendix B.

Ongoing Support

Technical Facilities:

  • monitors and responds to environmental emergencies,
  • provides temperature monitoring,
  • provides utility management and access to a visual power indicator.

Access to the University's data center in Forsythe Hall is available by card access 24x7.  University IT' Operations Control staff (ITSOC) are available 24x7 to respond to environmental alarms, and to alert support staff of conditions that may warrant immediate attention and follow-up.  Please see Appendix A for specific information on how to access the Forsythe Hall Data Center and contact information.

Security

Researcher must adhere to the Administrative Guidelines for all Moderate and High Risk Data.  Please see the Information Security website for more information.

Researchers who are particularly sensitive to down time should develop a proactive emergency plan to protect the safety of their personnel and the continuity of their programs.  This includes an equipment and data backup plan for supporting and maintaining their research computing environment int he event of an emergency.

For additional information regarding disaster response information, plese review the following website:

http://web.stanford.edu/dept/EHS/prod/general/erprep/plans/index.html

Responsibility Matrix

The Responsibility Matrix indicates whether University IT or the client is ultimately responsible for performing the listed task. In instances where there are check marks (✓) in both columns, both the client and University IT must coordinate their efforts to ensure the successful completion of the task. It is not the intent of any Responsibility Matrix to absolutely define every process, function or task performed as a contracted function.

SERVICE NAME CLIENT University IT
Equipment specification and space approval
Getting space approved and assigned
Approving and accepting delivery of equipment  
Assisting with initial rack install as noted above  
Physically connecting/disconnecting to power, networking or storage within server rack  
Planning for future hardware installations
Monitoring server status  
Notifying Technical Facilities or ITSOC staff of vendor access to server room  
Coordinating equipment arrivals with Technical Facilities staff
Disaster recovery planning for Forsythe Hall facility  
Inventory of capital equipment  
Property tag assignments  
Equipment labelling