The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is in the market for a new super computer but is also open to public cloud solutions.
Workloads include four daily production weather forecasts, model testing and the development of future models and potential additional forecast production frequencies.
Previous generations of super computers have been installed at NIWA in 1999, 2010, and in 2017, when the Crown research institute's current Cray hardware was bought in a six-year, $31.7 million deal.
That system currently runs the UK Met Office's unified model forecasting application and features over 15 petabytes of archived tape storage.
"NIWA has a talented but small group of high performance computing staff," a tender released on 1 September said. "So, the focus with this procurement is finding solutions that create an efficient and smoothly operating environment that allows the science staff to run their HPC workloads."
NIWA stipulated that because the next generation computer was considered a long-term investment, respondents should both propose established industry-leading solutions and plan to work with NIWA in a long-term partnership.
"Because high performance computing is a very specialised branch of IT, only vendors with a strong history of supporting high performance computing customers should bid," the tender said.
The archive part of the tender was particularly vital because NIWA expected this would be where the most significant changes from the past would be managed.
"Looking to the future, providing rapid access to many decades of data by the NIWA data scientists will be a great benefit from this purchase," the tender said.
The data archive would be given budget priority and was expected to be the first part of the new solution to be implemented.
The tender was also structured to allow vendors to propose a limited solution, addressing one part of NIWA's requirements.
"NIWA is open to a range of contract structures, from a single vendor, to a consortium, through to multiple contracts with multiple vendors," the tender said.
"However, partnerships between vendors will be expected where there is value in that approach, and we will take evidence of pre-negotiated vendor relationships into account when assessing responses."
Clear and concise responsibilities were expected between multiple partners or vendors.
Another requirement was flexibility for expansion and interoperability.
The current Cray system had only minor changes throughout its lifetime, but NIWA was now seeking solutions that could grow throughout the life of the system's various hardware and software components.
NIWA said it would have preference of solutions with demonstratable and relevant reference sites and customers.
Established in 1992, Auckland-based NIWA has around 750 staff working from 15 offices located between Whangarei and Dunedin.
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