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Leading financial analysis solutions provider Murex has selected ClusterVision to supply cluster management software and professional support services for its new supercomputing cluster in Paris. The combined software and services solution will provide cluster management and operational support for Murex’s existing cluster, which is used to develop risk and asset management solutions for financial organisations worldwide.

ClusterVision has announced the full-scale implementation of a cluster management solution at the leading French software provider Murex. After the completion of a successful trial, Murex will use Bright Cluster Manager, supplied and supported by ClusterVision, as part of an overall supercomputing management service for their existing GPU powered compute cluster. The cluster is primarily used as an in-house development and testing platform for Murex’s commercial software applications in the field of financial risk and asset management.

Headquartered in Paris France, and with offices throughout Europe, the USA and Asia-Pacific, Murex is one of Europe’s largest software developers, and one of the world’s leading providers of software and services to the financial sector. Its flagship product, Murex MX-3, is used for risk analysis in financial market trading, and has over 36,000 users at 200 institutions in 65 countries worldwide.

The worldwide financial sector is highly regulated, with risk analysis management solutions, such as those developed by Murex, being an essential requirement of any trading organisation. Financial risk management uses Monte-Carlo based simulation, a complex process of data sampling and stochastic analysis, to determine the uncertainty associated with a given set of financial assets. Risk analysis is both computationally and data intensive, and is one of the most rapidly growing application areas for supercomputing. Murex’s new supercomputing capability now allows them to manage complex financial products in high precision, and in near real time, compared to a previous capability of only HPC computing analytics once or twice a day.

Murex use their supercompute cluster as a platform for in-house software development and testing. The system comprises a single head node, with redundant power supply and hard disk drives, and 16 IBM iDataplex dx360 M3 server compute nodes. Each server incorporates 2 of Intel’s X5675 6-core, 3.06Ghz clock speed processors and 2 NVIDIA Tesla M2090 accelerators. System interconnect is managed via GigaEthernet and Mellanox QDR infiniband, and storage is provided by IBM’s high performance clustered file system, GPFS. Large volume data analytics applications, such as the financial analysis solutions developed by Murex, are particularly suited to acceleration, a task which is addressed using NVIDIA’s Tesla M2090 GPU processors. The Tesla M2090 GPU has 512 CUDA parallel processing cores, and is capable of accelerating pure CPU performance by up to 10-times.

Finding an effective cluster management solution and on-going professional support were critical challenges in completing the system. In both respects, Murex was recommended by Bright Computing, developers of Bright Cluster Manager, to European cluster specialist ClusterVision. As a relative newcomer to cluster computing, Murex needed cluster management that was easy to install and operate, and that would create a robust reference platform for their own software development process. With a dedicated focus on supercomputing, ClusterVision represented an ideal partner. Highly experienced in both developing and delivering cluster management solutions, ClusterVision was also able to provide professional support and administration services for Murex’s existing cluster infrastructure, and specialist training for their administrators and users.

After an evaluation of their requirements, ClusterVision supplied Murex with Bright Cluster Manager, initially as a 4-node, 6-month, proof-of-concept demonstration. To ensure the quality of their software development, Murex’s process requires a consistent reference platform for each software release. Once an initial configuration is complete, Bright Cluster Manager is used to capture a complete image of the master node. Subsequent duplication of this image to all other nodes in the system ensures that they are strictly identical, thereby providing the overall reference and consistency needed for each new release.

Following a successful trial period, Murex has now proceeded with a full cluster management implementation, comprising 17 Bright Cluster Manager licences, together with a 3-year provision of associated professional services. Under the service agreement ClusterVision will supply a single-point of contact, first-level support for Murex’s cluster hardware, delivery and support for the Bright Cluster Manager software, and an on-going programme of skills training for their system administrators and end-users. ClusterVision will also assist the team at Murex in their evaluation of the latest release of Bright Cluster Manager, version 6.0, where the Amazon EC2 cloud bursting capabilities are of particular interest.

“IT resources are rare these days and the Bright Computing cluster management suite enabled us to avoid investing a huge number of man days rediscovering what others in research and the industry have already done, or re-developing something internally that we would have had to support for years. The possibility to extend our cluster with EC2 is perfectly suited to our usage since, from time to time, we need to run some benchmarks on huge test cases which exceed our own compute capacity,” says Pierre Spatz, Head of Quantitative Analysis Murex.

“We are extremely pleased to have demonstrated the value of our experience and solution, and to be working with Murex to provide management and on-going support for their growing HPC infrastructure,” said Christopher Huggins, Commercial Director at ClusterVision. “We are seeing a rapid rise in interest in HPC from the financial sector, and our team are currently involved in a number of large scale projects, delivering both turn-key cluster systems and customised service work packages. We are confident that the cluster management and support services which we have put in place at Murex will bring value to their development process, and through their customer relationships will positively impact a wide range of commercial organisations.”