DALY and HP Allow Agency to Transform Data Analysis

DALY and HP enabled this government agency to transform the way they analyze data.

For most government agencies, data is everything.

From object detection to mission enablement, data collection and rapid insight are paramount to mission success. And the challenge with analyzing the data is not just due to its size, but its type.

As one agency and its contractors looked for faster and more reliable ways to collect and analyze data, they turned to artificial intelligence (AI) as the answer. To that end, DALY and HP enabled them to transform the way they analyze data.

Based on the amount of data collected for any given mission or project, it’s no surprise that AI is an enabling technology.

AI is primarily used today to help with the detection of “things” and model enhancement. The agency leverages AI to monitor regions and automatically detect if something interesting just happened or is going to happen.

Based on collected data and scientific models that describe a physical process, AI can be exploited to make scientific models more robust and reliable by enabling wider parameter exploration.

The agency is just scratching the surface in its use of AI for mission enhancement and enablement. The amount of data collected is massive, amounting to tens, if not hundreds of TBs per day.

In fact, it’s impossible to analyze all of this data simply due to its size and the limited computing capabilities in other locations, all but forcing the agency to prioritize sending certain types of data sets depending on the mission.

Better Supporting Mission Objectives

With the previous workstation unable to provide the proper amount of storage or speed for a single data set, and with the delays in data movement between archives, devices, and compute clusters that would take more than a year to see results, it was only logical for the agency to seek an alternative that would meet their individual needs and better support their mission objectives.

They needed a powerful system on-premises that could support their software stack and custom workflows, ensure security compliance was maintained, minimize data movement, and deliver the right level of performance.

On top of basic storage and compute performance, parallelism was critical, ensuring not only better use of available GPU capacity, but putting extra CPU cores to work too. And based on their last experience, both the researchers and IT wanted better support for the existing computing requirements from the vendor they selected.

DALY’s strategic partner HP delivered a complete Z8 workstation that enabled the use of powerful NVIDIA GPUs and available CPUs to satisfy their software requirements and data science workflows.

In a desktop-size tower, the agencygained a system with high-density storage, mixing fast NVMe disks with enterprise-class spinning disks to store dozens of TB of data, the availability of thousands of NVIDIA GPU cores through two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs, and two Xeon CPUs used for data preparation and data interactivity.

And for the most part, it all just worked.

Accessible, Interactive Data

Because data was now local on the Z8 workstation, it was more accessible. And because it was more accessible, interaction with the data became easier. What used to take days to move, process, move again, and interact with data is now taken for granted. Instead of leveraging different systems for processing, analyzing, and interacting, the team can leverage the Z8 system to fulfill all tasks. And the effect was a reduction in time to results. What had previously taken or was expected to take a year or more could now be done in less than a week.

Given the previous struggles to move 12TB chunks of data, the team knew that performance was key for any statistical analysis. It took weeks to download data, and because it was stored externally, the compute power could not leverage parallelism (either CPU or GPU). In the most extreme case, using the HP Z8 Workstation, they turned what would have taken several months of purely compute processing into a job that could finish in barely a week’s time.

By not having to leverage the cloud for compute, the team no longer had to deal with IT security delays based on what data was being moved into the cloud and what software was being used in the cloud. While they must maintain an effective security posture on premises, the system gives them more freedom to use the software they want to do the job they need to most effectively.

As data sets continue to grow and data movement further restricts the timeliness of results, the agency’s scientists were at an impasse. They could accept the time it took to leverage a cloud computing cluster and deal with constant delays in moving data in and out of systems or look for an alternative.

The Z by HP workstation proved to be the solution, providing a powerful technical foundation to enable better, faster, and interactive data analysis more collaboratively on growing data sets. As the agency continues to turn to AI to help transform how they analyze data, it’s a good bet that HP’s Z8 workstation with NVIDIA GPUs will be there delivering the performance, flexibility, and reliability required.