Accountability: The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property.

We have chosen accountability as the corner stone of DST’s methodology. Our philosophy is the DST team acts as an extension of you and your team, and as such we are accountable to you for everything we do. Further, we believe that accountability is fundamental to the success of any endeavor so our tools and disciplined practices need to provide you as close to complete visibility as is possible. Our field proven collaboration process brings transparency into each engagement from supporting documentation to individual time allocations.

A key success principle in the DST philosophy is to partner a technical and business team member together to support each effort. The combination of the two aspects makes sure accountability isn’t an afterthought but an integral part of the methodology. The technical team member insures the technical foundation is complete, from the project plan to an on demand service outline, while the business team member insures the discipline required for ongoing customer accountability.

There are three pillars of accountability:

Measurable Metrics: The first measurable level of accountability DST provides encompass the performance, utilization and uptime of the Cluster under support. DST’s HPC Operational Management System provides real time dash boards that allow stake holders to see and understand their compute cluster, the network and the I/O or storage. Simple views into the utilization of the storage capacity and the compute resources with our powerful real time dash boards accelerates user adoption. Finally, the dash boards provide insight to any nodes not available and a historical context for uptime on a node by node basis.

The second level of accountability is our performance on your behalf. We provide measurable metrics including number of tickets, how quickly we begin to work on the ticket, how long each issue takes to resolve and what was the satisfaction of the end user after the problem was resolved. When DST is providing on demand services you have visibility into each task we undertake on a project, how much time the individual spent on that task and when each task is complete. Further, we deliver and review custom weekly reports associated to the open tasks, measuring progress, to assure the project has forward momentum with 360 degree visibility into the work and agreed upon timelines.

The corner stone of accountability is something we are always growing. Each quarter DST looks at new ways to create measurable metrics and provide visibility into key service areas.

Summary of measurable metrics:

  • Performance
  • System performance—compute, storage, network
  • Up time
  • Capacity utilization
  • Ticket response
  • Time to resolution
  • End user satisfaction
  • Project completion/progress
  • Allocation of hours to exact work

Audit Trails: Audit trails provide a powerful way for DST to account for our activities over time. We have developed systems to record our actions, plus the actions of the manufacturers and everyone involved in the effort. We always accept responsibility for our part in any effort and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. Detail records provide audit trails for holding ourselves accountable to you. These audit trails are started from the kick off meeting or the start of a new effort and continue through completion review. We record the work requested by you, our hourly action items, who undertook each action, estimated time to completion, and open items needing assistance by you or others during the effort. Our audit trail encompasses the; who, what, when and where of a work effort from conception to the completion. When we manage our HPC, you should expect a detailed audit capability for system usage over time, system performance over time, capacity usage over time and more.

Included in the summation of each work effort is an end user satisfaction survey. This simple audit trail rolls up weekly or monthly reports to provide insight into your end users sentiment about the service they are receiving.

Documentation: The process to deliver disciplines commonly found in Enterprise Information Technology to HPC. Thorough documentation starts during the on-boarding phase of our managed services endeavor using best-of-breed discovery tools, cadenced reporting to the current and future state, showing the blueprint of what exist.

Both HPC operational management and HPC consulting engagements involve the creation of detailed documentation for the current state of the cluster. This includes physical documentation of your compute, storage and network plus the logical layout of the architecture, file system and work flows.

We also believe in documenting cluster policies as we start to deploy a HOMS customer and we work closely with your team to assist with that effort.

All DST systems are documented thoroughly so that end user communities can have easy access to the information they need. DST provides detailed documentation on all of our tools: ticketing system, educational portal, project plan tool and trello collaboration tool, for either On Demand services or HOMS operational management system.

Who is DST? Our customers say our best feature is we’re flexible, nimble, and fast in making the experience for your researchers the best it can be.