Research Computing Cluster Transitions to High-Speed Servers

December 08, 2023

Hummingbird, UC Santa Cruz’s open access computational cluster, is gearing up for a significant upgrade to faster file servers that will allow for improved access to data used in computational (research) workflows. This will require some down time for the cluster starting December 21, 2023. All users are asked to complete their work and copy off their results by December 20, 2023. The downtime is scheduled to end by January 4, 2024.

What’s changing?

During this maintenance window, the cluster will transfer all user accounts and their data to these new file servers. Approximately 200 terabytes of data residing in the old file storage system will be copied over, and is expected to take about 14 days to complete. This migration ensures that users can leverage the enhanced capabilities of the new file storage system, without the need to worry about migrating over to the new system themselves. Although users may not directly notice changes, access speeds will be improved, and more storage will be available overall.

New possibilities

The introduction of these high-speed servers unlocks many new possibilities for the Hummingbird cluster. Once the data are housed on the new storage servers, multiple processes can access the data simultaneously at speeds of up to 200 gigabits per second. This new parallel, high-speed access means that Hummingbird has all the features of high-performance computing (HPC) that our researchers need.

This work is a continuation of a year’s long strategy of improving Hummingbird’s capabilities, which included relocating the cluster to UC Santa Cruz’s Colocation Facility in Quincy, WA in December of 2022. This latest transformation owes thanks to a campus investment of $160,000 for upgrades to the system. The migration and upgrade plan was devised by the ITS Hummingbird Support Team, including Rion Parsons, Ramon Berger, Doug Niven, Josh Sonstroem, and Jeffrey Weekley.

Interested in using Hummingbird?

Researchers interested in using Hummingbird can reach out to the team via email at