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High Performance & Scientific Computing

System Overview on ISAAC Secure Enclave

The University supports research in fields that may need to process sensitive information which may have regulatory compliance security requirements for confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information.  Such research may be in medical, social sciences, engineering, and/or other fields requesting computational support for processing sensitive information including, but not limited to, Protected Health Information (PHI), Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), and perhaps human studies research under the jurisdiction of applicable University of Tennessee and other organizations Institutional Review Boards (IRB). Due to the demand for this type of computational research environment, the University provisioned the ISAAC Secure Enclave with HPC cluster resources and Virtual Machine (VM) resources to provide a wide range of solutions for University researchers.

The resources in the Secure Enclave are covered by a written security plan as required by regulatory compliance for CUI and PHI and has been reviewed and approved by the CISO and CIO of UTK and UTHSC.

In the Secure Enclave environment, we offer services for three kinds of resources described below.

Windows Virtual Machines

The Windows virtual machines (VMs) are Windows based virtual machines created using VMware/Nutanix hypervisor. The resource configuration of each VM is requested by the ISAAC users based upon the requirements of their projects. By default, we create a VM which has 2 CPU cores, 8 GB of RAM and 200 GB of storage. These VMs can be accessed by more than one user simultaneously and the access to these VMs is provided through the Citrix environment. Therefore, users need to log in to the Citrix environment

Virtual Data Center Workstations

Virtual data center workstations (vDWS) are the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) based virtual machines, which uses Nvidia Tesla T4 GPUS and are constructed on bare metal machines using VMware/Nutanix hypervisor. Although more than one user of a group or project can have access the vDWS, no more than one user will be able to log in to vDWS at a time. Users can request either Windows server or the CentOS Linux as the Operating System. The vDWS are very useful to accelerate the applications with GUI based and 3D visualization capabilities which need to work with GPUs. The major difference between Windows and Linux based vDWS is that the Linux based vDWS has the ability to access the Lustre file system and the software on the HPC cluster and the Windows systems are essentially standalone systems.

Secure Enclave HPC cluster

It is a Linux based High performance computing cluster that can process data and execute complex scientific simulations at high speeds in comparison to regular computers. In HPC computing, many computing nodes get together to perform a certain task. This method of working several computing nodes together is called parallel processing and is very popular in various research areas.

Table 1 lists the cluster compute nodes available to users of the ISAAC Secure Enclave. Figure 1 shows a diagram of the ISAAC Secure Enclave cluster compute and storage nodes. If you would like to invest in computing or storage resources in the ISAAC Secure Enclave, please review the Node and Storage Investments document for more information.

Node TypeIntel® Xeon® CPUNodesCores/NodeGB Mem/NodeTotal CoresInterconnect
Cascade Lake RefreshIntel Gold 6248R1448192672EDR
Cascade Lake
(Private condo)
Intel Gold 6248840192320EDR
Cascade Lake Refresh
(Private condos)
Intel Gold 6248R27481921,296EDR
Cascade Lake Refresh 2xNVIDIA Tesla V100S (Private condos)Intel Gold 6248R

Totals 51 2,384