CISL working on storage solutions for users

A technical team from CISL’s High Performance Computing Division (HPCD) has been exploring emerging technologies that address researchers' growing data storage needs while reducing the costs of deploying new storage capacity.

To get a sneak peak of what the future holds for data storage, the HPCD team visited the IBM Tape Lab in Tucson, Arizona, and met with IBM’s Tape Research engineering team. Occasional trips like these and regular technological deep dives with vendors are routine for HPCD’s technical team members, who research the best solutions for the systems that support CISL’s HPC users.

Irfan Elahi, HPCD’s director, said the team learned about emerging tape hardware and software technologies that are worth keeping an eye on for potential use by NCAR’s HPC user community. He said, “We think these innovative technologies will be good options for the potential tiering of our Campaign Storage system and distributing data between different storage layers. This could help us make sure users’ data is accessible to them when they need it while minimizing the overall cost to the data center.”

The team also made progress on creating an end-to-end, high-IOPS-to-tape software solution that could potentially incorporate Ceph, a software-defined storage technology for object storage use cases. This technology could provide a useful S3 interface and also provide a low-cost way to store inactive data.

Group photo of HPCD and IBM staff members outdoors in Tucson with cacti in the background.

Left to right: Ron Cuchetti (IBM), Robert Reid (IBM), Jim Bonfils (IBM), Mike Fisher (Alliance), Jean May (IBM), Irfan Elahi (CISL/HPCD), Juanice Campbell (IBM), Bonnie Ramos (Alliance Technology Group), Lee Olguin (IBM), Lee Jesionowski (IBM), Aric Werner (CISL/HPCD), Bill Anderson (CISL/HPCD), Khanh Ngo (IBM).

IBM photo