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November 25, 2005

StorCloud Initiative Recap for SC05

By Virgina To

This year, teams of high-performance computing experts demonstrated diverse data-intensive applications using the onsite StorCloud storage infrastructure at SC05 in Seattle, Washington.  Three challenge awards were given:

  •   “Best Overall Performance” – PNNL

The PNNL team sustained 20 Gbit/sec performance from the
show floor to their facility with an image-processing application.

  •   “Most Innovative Use of Storage in Support of Science” – AIST

The custom-developed storage software (GFarm) was developed to serve the needs of the accelerator with a flexible, high-performance storage infrastructure.

  •   “Best Deployment of a Prototype for a Scientific Application” – LBNL/ NERSC

The LBNL team took this opportunity to test the wide-area deployment
of an unprecedented system in support of a groundbreaking climate
modeling application.

SC05 StorCloud showcased HPC storage technologies (topologies, devices, interconnects), comprising state-of-the-art heterogeneous devices and technology to build a virtual on-site “storage on request” area network capability to support researchers and demonstrate high bandwidth applications at the conference. 
StorCloud featured a variety of technologies and applications:

1.  Evolutionary and revolutionary HPC storage technologies in a heterogeneous environment.
2.  Approximately 680 terabytes of randomly accessible storage for SC05 participants.
3.  Approximately 2.3 terabits per second infrastructure bandwidth.
4.  Robotically controlled tape drives for data staging and transfer.
5.  InfiniBand technologies for storage.
6.  Six challenge applications that stretched StorCloud to its limits.
7.  Eight non-challenge applications exercising additional dimensions of storage.


Storage, file system, switch, media and software vendors contributed equipment and expertise to the initiative for the duration of SC05. The storage equipment were attached and assigned to host platforms throughout the convention on an as requested basis. Host platforms were partitioned, formatted, and used the storage as needed. StorCloud was architected and deployed entirely by volunteers from government, industry and academia. 

Storage technologies will continue as an initiative for SC2007 in Reno, Nevada in November 2007 with new goals. For more information on StorCloud, visit or contact

Special thanks to the following industry partners' contributions to SC05 StorCloud's initiative:

3PAR Data, BlueArc, Brocade, Cisco, Chelsio Communications,  Cluster File Systems, DataDirect Networks, Inc, Emcore, Emulex, Engenio, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Imation, Intransa, Linux Networx, Mellanox, Network Appliance, PogoLinux, Qlogic, SGI, Siemon, Sun/StorageTek, SuperMicro, Terrascale Technologies, Voltaire

Additional thanks to organizations supporting StorCloud committee members:

Army Research Lab Major Shared Resource Center, Aeronautical Systems Center Major Shared Resource Center, Cisco, Colorado Institute of Technology, IBM, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab,
Maui High Performance Computing Center, NCAR, NERSC, Oak Ridge National Labs, Raytheon,
San Diego Supercomputer Center, Sandia National Labs, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, University of Delaware, University of Maryland