Feeds

UK's HECToR supercomputer in 27PB MEGA-storage boost

Disks, tapes and GPFS

High performance access to file storage

HECToR, the Edinburgh-based supercomputer used by UK researchers to tackle science's more thorny mathematical problems, is having petabytes of disk and tape storage installed in a massive storage expansion.

HECToR stands for the High End Computing Terra Scale Resource and has been built in several phases. It is a Cray-built 800 TFlop XE6 supercomputer with 704 compute blades using AMD "Bulldozer" multi-core processor architecture with 90TB of memory.

The system takes up 30 cabinets in an Edinburgh University data centre the size of two tennis courts.

HECToR

HECToR

HECToR has a petabyte of disk space in another 10 cabinets, under the control of the Lustre parallel file system. There is a 70TB BlueArc (Now HDS) Titan 2200 backup NAS system with MAID (Masssive Array of Idle Disks) on a Copan Revolution Virtual Tape Library array. Crashed Copan was bought by SGI in June 2010. The BlueArc system holds users' home directories. Files are first backed up to the Copan storage, using Symantec NetBackup, and then archived off to a Quantum Scalar i2000 tape library with four LTO-4 drives, 1,300 tapes and a 1.02PB capacity.

This storage is being boosted with 7.8PB of DataDirect storage arrays – accessed by GPFS, not Lustre – and 19.5PB of IBM archive tape, so the existing archive infrastructure is obviously thought inadequate for this extended storage. This new capacity, designed and built by OCF, will be networked to HECToR, not actually integrated into its infrastructure; it's designed for the long-term and to be available to any HECToR successor machine. It's a separate silo.

DDN is supplying its SFA10K-X storage array. The tape facility is a high-end IBM TS3500 library which can have 15 frames connected together with a single robot system and uses IBM's TS1140 tape drive.

HECTor cabling

Supercomputing wiring hell: HECTOR cabling.

Professor Arthur Trew of Edinburgh University said: “Data persists beyond any computer, including HECToR, so we’re prioritising data storage, management and analysis. Doing this enables us to upgrade HECToR and integrate its successor without fear of impacting access to research data. Our expectation is that any future computer must be able to integrate seamlessly with our storage.”

OCF's MD, Julian Fielden, thinks one problem with big data isn't storing it but finding the stuff, accessing it and using it: "By making storage independent of the machine that generated it, combined with good network access and IBM’s parallel file system GPFS, the data becomes easy to locate and use by any researcher irrespective of location,” meaning anywhere in the UK. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.