Tackling Big Data Storage Problems with Site-Wide Storage

May 19, 2014

When it comes to storage problems, no one is exempt. The exponential growth of scientific and technical big data is not only having a major impact on HPC storage infrastructures at the world’s largest organizations, but at small-to medium-sized companies as well.

The stumbling blocks at large organizations are highly visible. Over the years the government labs, educational institutions and major enterprises have built up complex and often highly dispersed storage infrastructures. They are characterized by numerous, distributed file systems running on multiple HPC systems.

As a result, storage silos have become the norm. Just some of the consequences are limited access to data, high latency, and increased storage, maintenance and retrieval costs. In particular, these IT infrastructures have a difficult time handling either planned or unexpected peak period loads brought on by activities like checkpointing or unanticipated user demand.

Site-Wide Storage at NERSC

The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is an excellent example of how a major institution can solve these thorny storage problems.

More than 5,000 scientists use NERSC’s computational facilities every year. They are performing scientific research for as many as 700 topics spanning such fields as solar energy, bioinformatics, fusion science, astrophysics, climate science and more. The Center currently has six state of the art computer systems and advanced storage systems. Included is “Edison,” a Cray XC30 with a peak performance of over two petaflops.

Since 2006, NERSC has had to continuously address its storage problems and recently the pace has quickened. Typically, up to 400 researchers a day from all over the world were using the Center to handle hundreds of high-bandwidth applications to access, analyze and share research data. Because the facility relied on a multiple different file systems, delivering an optimum balance of capacity and throughput was a major problem.

“We were constantly moving data around within the center to ensure we had sufficient storage to handle new project growth while keeping our existing users happy,” says Jason Hick, group leader, storage systems for NERSC. “It took an inordinate amount of time and created an enormous amount of network traffic.”

Hick’s team debated the merits of deploying additional storage or moving to a centralized solution designed to meet both present and anticipated future growth. They opted for the latter.

Says Hick, “NERSC was a pioneer in moving away from local storage in favor of site-wide Global File systems and consolidated storage architecture.” He adds that performance and efficiency were the primary drivers for adopting a site-wide storage architecture.

DDN Storage Solution

At the heart of the solution is DataDirect Networks Storage Fusion Architecture® (SFA), which provides all the functionality needed to ingest, analyze and archive big data on a single platform.

This approach allows NERSC to deploy a centralized storage capability that can accommodate the requirements of the largest computer system on the network – including peak period bursts – as well meeting the storage needs of the Center’s other five systems. And when the ultra powerful NERSC 8 supercomputer “Cori” is installed in mid-2016, it will make full use of the scalable site-wide storage infrastructure.

Hick reports that the cost of the centralized infrastructure is 30 percent less than a local file system, with savings running into several hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Scratch” storage costs have been cut by more than 50 percent.

NERSC is just one of several large organizations that have moved to site-wide storage solutions based on DDN technology. Included are Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

But the benefits of site-wide storage solution are not the exclusive domain of these big government labs and major institutions. Smaller sites may not have the resources to buy, deploy and manage infrastructure on the scale of TACC or an ORNL, but they can still enjoy the benefits of site wide storage.  One very successful approach is to “converge” parallel file systems and other applications with storage to create centralized storage building blocks that provide higher performance and lower latency. At the same time, this solution also offers ease of purchase, deployment and management.

Dealing with Big Data at the University of Florida

The University of Florida is a good example. Its Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research (ICBR) has been in a rapid growth mode, generating increasing amounts of data as it adds new equipment such as next generation sequencers and Cryo-electron microscopy instruments. To handle this growth, ICBR wanted a flexible, low footprint, and simplified infrastructure that could scale as needed.

The Center chose DDN’s converged infrastructure (DDN In-Storage Processing™) which allows users to embed parallel file sysytems and key applications inside the storage controller. This approach has allowed the ICBR to eliminate data access latency as well as the need for additional servers, cabling, network switches and adapters, while reducing administrative overhead. Balanced storage and faster application burst performance means that big data applications perform at optimal levels.

The solution provides the performance and advanced capabilities needed to handle its rapidly growing next generation sequencing projects with their constantly changing application loads.

ICBR’s experience shows how a mid-range organization with limited resources can enjoy a satisfactory site-wide storage solution. The Center has deployed an adaptive and customizable architecture for storing, managing and analyzing large collections of distributed data running to billions of files and petabytes of storage across tens of federated data grids.

Optimized Storage for All

As the University of Florida and the NERSC examples demonstrate, the benefits of site-wide, optimized storage are available to organizations both large and small. DDN, the HPC storage leader is showing the way.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurr Read more…

By Doug Black

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia CEO Predicts AI ‘Cambrian Explosion’

May 25, 2017

The processing power and cloud access to developer tools used to train machine-learning models are making artificial intelligence ubiquitous across computing pl Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" process Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This