Feeds

CERN BOFH needs a bigger storage array

Networking the secrets of the universe

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The data from the LHC experiments will be distributed around the world. A primary backup will be recorded on tape at CERN. After initial processing, this data will be distributed to 11 Tier-1 centres, large computer centres with sufficient storage capacity. Smaller (Tier-2) centres will handle the analysis of specific tasks.

Processing this data requires the power of around 100,000 desktop CPUs, a figure that's stayed the same at CERN for around seven years. Processor speed increases have kept track with the growth in data that colliders generate. Advances in communication technology have allowed CERN to bring in partner organisations in its research.

David Foster, head of communications systems at CERN, runs the team behind this behemoth network. He's also responsible for a campus network that supports 2,500 staff at CERN and thousands of visiting scientists, as well as mobile and Wi-Fi infrastructures for the lab, and hundreds of kilometers of cables in the underground installations at CERN.

"Changes in networking have enabled a rethink of our whole business model. We can have a global research network - rather than one that is centrally located thanks to advances in communications technology," he said.

Moving data onto storage and then off to be processed is a major headache, Foster explained. Tape is still the most effective way to store data, but it brings its own problems. "Tape is slow and not progressing particularly quickly. Solid state memory and solid state storage are important things to look at," Foster told delegates at the NetEvents conference in Malta last week. "Fast networks alone are not enough."

He said the LHC would seek to answer questions such as "where do particles get mass", and other fundamental questions of physics. The project is costing a cool $5bn but it's money well spent, Foster argues.

"Quite apart from the possible spin-off if we fail to look into the fundamentals of the universe we lose so much. It's in human nature to be curious," Foster told El Reg. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.