DST: Simplifying the HPC Cluster Conundrum

The heritage of the 15-year-old analytics firm, Data in Science Technologies (DST) is deeply entwined with providing data management solutions. However, in the past five years, DST has transitioned into a consulting company to equip their clients with the know-how of the technology world, enabling them to make informed decisions. DST is governed by a vision to simplify the complex areas of HPC clusters for its customers. This organizational motto stemmed from the lack of skilled professionals in the HPC ecosystem, which had handicapped the growth of many institutions. While the skill-sets to tread the HPC path are expensive and hard to find, DST sought to put an end to this significant crunch with its gamut of consulting solutions. The firm’s on-demand services allow organizations to hire an HPC-skilled professional, which is complemented by DST’s consulting services designed to deal with the intricacies of project development. Besides, the firm’s HPC Operational Management System (HOMS) assists organizations in monitoring and managing the convoluted HPC clusters. All in all, DST’s solutions portfolio is uniquely architected to augment the efficiencies of organizations treading the difficult terrains of HPC.

In spite of building state-of-the-art infrastructure, many organizations fail to resolve the complexities of an HPC cluster. For instance, a New York-based research institution that had moved to a new GPFS cluster, confronted a unique challenge of running few scripts on the new cluster. These scripts were written in an old programming language and refused to transition into the new environment. Even after brainstorming various solutions, which was corroborated by a full-blown research team, a definitive answer to the conundrum did not materialize. In the course of time, DST’s assistance was sought, and within two weeks the research organization was able to run all the workflows in the new GPFS cluster. “The reason behind our successful endeavors is the team that we employ. We have individuals who are veterans in the HPC ecosystem with experiences ranging from 15 to 20 years,” says Debbie Willbanks, Sr. Partner at DST. One of our clients stated to us “We always had people on staff here on premises that were running the system and were responsible for running the system. And that was a weakness for us because really our specialty was doing research, that’s where we add value.” We think that says it all and why DST exists, Willbanks adds.

Akin to the turnkey portfolio of solutions, DST deploys an organized onboarding framework to assimilate new clients seamlessly. To begin with, an intensive discovery and documentation phase of the HPC ecosystem takes place with key stakeholders, wherein the DST team documents each aspect of the current state—from software, hardware, and networking, applications and their dependencies, file systems, workflow, data archiving, and data retention. Frontline managers thoroughly study these aspects and are tasked to understand the requirements and nuances of new clients, whereas a remote monitoring team espouses the management of the organization’s cluster. DST has a three-pronged approach that encircles understanding, monitoring, and providing their customers with robust support options in order to ensure a smooth transition into DST’s solutions. Additionally, every cluster policy that DST formulates is properly documented, ensuring accountability of the entire process.

All in all, DST’s solutions portfolio is uniquely architected to augment the efficiencies of organizations treading the difficult terrains of HPC

This is followed by strategic planning and documentation that comprise recommendations, migration outlining, and detailed architecture focused on accomplishing a goal. “A big part of consultancy services is to keep organizations aware of the latest technology trends, which allows them to make informed decisions.We created one solution for customers we call WonderDial to provide visibility into the large petabyte file system being used, making the best use of primary tier and helping make better decisions on how to operate their environment.It’s been a hit and we have a demonstration running on our website. Our vision aligns with the same principle, and we educate our potential customers about latest technologies such as cloud, OpenStack, MVMe, and others before delving into our solutions suite,” says Andrew Gauzza, DST’s CTO.

Currently centered upon the arena of genomic research, DST envisions making rapid strides into other industry verticals. To that end, the firm has revamped its hiring framework to accommodate senior professionals in the HPC spectrum. Our current client in New York recently mentioned “There’s more value in outsourcing those things that you’re not an expert at and that you never need to be an expert at, like I don’t want to be and I don’t need to be, I don’t have to have a team that’s going to be an expert on this stuff because we have the right partner”. The interview is so impactful we’ve placed them on our website, extols Don Schrenk, Sr. Partner. Leading the wave of consultancy services in the HPC landscape, DST is poised for a great development with its long-standing partnerships with IBM, DDN and other industry giants alongside its robust portfolio of services and solutions.


Marietta, GA

Debbie Willbanks, Partner and Andrew Gauzza, CTO

DST provides data analytics and modeling solutions for government, healthcare, and research organizations