Technology Partners

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

NoMachine powering medical research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center providing scientists with dependable access to HPC & data analysis resources.

About the Organization
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHRC) is a nonprofit organization and a world leader in research to understand, treat, and prevent cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Opened in 1975, The Center's more than 3,000 employees includes prestigious scientists and Nobel Laureates who work in the more than 96 labs dedicated to human sciences, infectious diseases and immunology. The Center is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, on a 14-acre, 1.3 million foot campus.
The Challenge
Scientists and staff at the Center are spread out not only over the main campus, but at sites across the US and Canada and as far away as Germany. The researchers are a very dedicated group, and they also do considerable work from their homes and in the middle of the night. The Center needed to be able to provide them with reliable remote access to essential high-performance computing, data analysis, and administrative resources.

Center employees conduct extensive research, but not all of it involves high-performance computing. Researchers also need to be able to connect to additional applications via other terminals. To simplify support, the Center's scientific computing department wanted to cut the organization back to two operating systems. While many researchers preferred a Linux desktop, supporting those desktops was incurring too much time and cost when the majority of users and support was Windows-based.
The Solution
After careful research and testing, the Center determined that NoMachine software was the best solution for their needs. To reduce support, new employees are given a Windows computer. However, those who prefer to work with Linux or similar desktops are steered towards Macs with a Linux connection provided by the NoMachine NX Server.

"We needed a way to offer a Linux desktop interface to a lot of people without giving them each a physical system. This way we can concentrate our support efforts on high-performance computing, instead of desktop support," explained System Administrator Carl Benson.

NoMachine also gives researchers access to server-based applications that are critical to their day-to-day activities, such as Firefox, R language, and Matlab. With NoMachine, the Center can connect 250-300 researchers to the high-performance computing cluster, with up to 25 users connecting at the same time. The HPC research generates very large amounts of data, which then has to be analyzed on Unix or Linux and displayed on Windows. NoMachine's speed and unique compression and caching capabilities allow it to provide a truly usable, high-performance experience no matter where a researcher is located.
NoMachine's NX Enterprise Server and Client have enabled the scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to maintain their rigorous research schedules while simplifying desktop support. Whether on site or at a remote location, NoMachine provides a full Linux experience and access to x11 applications for a superior remote experience and easier admin. The software's dependability and session resiliency also make it perfect for researchers who need to monitor projects that may last for months at a time.

"NoMachine is way less hassle, uses fewer resources per session on the server and is reliable," said Benson. "It has more's really excellent."