SAWS is one of over 20 national and military global weather centres that depend on Cray to meet operational uptime and mission requirements every day. Cray's long-standing relationship with SAWS has allowed the weather center to take on weather and climate modelling responsibilities as the only World Meteorological Organization (WMO) community member and long-range global modelling centre in Africa. The installation at SAWS was also Cray's first-ever installation in Africa.
The Cray XC30 supercomputer and Lustre file system at SAWS has been in operation since 2014 and experienced zero down time while in service. By choosing to upgrade its existing Cray system, SAWS was able to expand the system and meet operational requirements, doubling compute capacity and tripling its ClusterStor L300 storage system capacity.
"SAWS has experienced great success in the last four years using its existing Cray XC30 supercomputer and ClusterStor storage system", stated Nico Meintjes, CEO at Eclipse Holdings Ltd. "As SAWS began to receive more tasks from the South African government, doubling computing needs, this put significant strain on system performance. With these growing needs, expanding and upgrading its Cray solutions was clearly the strongest choice. Now, with the Cray upgrades in place, SAWS has doubled its compute capacity and has tripled storage capacity and bandwidth."
"It's an exciting time in weather forecasting as organisations embrace artificial intelligence to more accurately predict forecasts and weather patterns", stated Ilene Carpenter, earth sciences segment director at Cray. "As weather simulations grow more advanced and comprehensive, generating weather predictions is an increasingly data-intensive task. With the Cray system upgrades in place, SAWS has the storage and compute resources needed to handle an increasing number of hydrometeorological observations and to run higher fidelity weather and climate models."
Timely and accurate weather alerts and warnings help weather-sensitive sectors and the general public prepare for and mitigate the impact of severe weather events. SAWS' research and forecasts, backed by supercomputing capabilities, play an important role in supporting decision makers at the local, provincial and national levels. These activities support South Africa's WeatherSMART Nation vision, Innovating, Adapting and Facing the Future Together.
The upgrades were delivered in March 2018 and the system was relocated to a new data centre by Cray and Eclipse Holdings in April 2018.