Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Spectra Logic T-Finity tape libraries are set to supply all near-line data storage for the Blue
Waters supercomputer for scientific applications. The libraries have also earned top ranking
in the Data Centre Infrastructure Group’s Buyer's Guide.
|The Blue Waters supercomputing system developed by the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications will be one of the largest active file repositories stored on tape media and will scale to a capacity of 380 raw petabytes within the first two years of operation. The NCSA, located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be using Spectra Logic T-Finity tape libraries to provide all near-line data storage for the system and allow the project to keep the data accessible in an active repository, perform automated data integrity verification for the data store, and achieve read/write rates of up to 2.2 PBs per hour by using enterprise level TS1140 Technology tape drives.|
|The Blue Waters project has been designed and developed to meet compute-intensive, memory-intensive, and data-intensive needs of scientists and engineers working in a wide variety of different fields. The supercomputer will be used for diverse scientific applications. A few examples are predicting the behaviour of hurricanes and tornadoes, analyzing complex biological systems, understanding cosmic evolution, designing new materials at the atomic level, and simulate complex engineered systems such as power distribution in airplanes and automobiles.|
|Bill Kramer deputy director of the Blue Waters project said that critical factors in the system are fast, reliable access to the huge volumes of stored data, and massively scalable capacity. It will feature an integrated storage environment that is initially scalable to over 380 petabytes, which is the equivalent of 5,054 years of HD-TV video. NCSA will initially deploy four Spectra Logic 17-frame T-Finity tape libraries to support Blue Waters’ near-line data archive needs in year one of operations. NCSA will then deploy two more of the libraries in year two of operations.
Storage integrator, NET Source, a member of Spectra Logic’s SpectraEDGE partner program and the prime contractor for the Blue Waters program, architected and recommended the Spectra Logic T-Finity tape-based near-line active repository solution.
|Spectra T-Finity and T950 tape libraries achieved the highest rankings and were named the market's Best in Class products in the Data Centre Infrastructure Group 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyer's Guide. According to DCIG's independent research study, the Spectra Logic T-Finity and T950 models attained the top rankings for the dual robot and single robot classes of libraries respectively due to their support for both traditional and newer functions used for active archive and backup of growing quantities of data.
Jerome Wendt, president and lead analyst at DCIG said the group’s research indicates organisations are in some cases increasing their tape-based storage or reintroducing tape as an element of their backup and archival strategy. The Big Data Tape Library Buyer's Guide is intended to help assess tape libraries appropriate to various requirements. It weights, scores and ranks functions from an end user's viewpoint. DCIG evaluated 140 features on 66 tape libraries from eight storage vendors. Tape library vendors included Dell, HP, IBM, Oracle, Overland, Qualstar, Quantum and Spectra Logic.
The Spectra Logic T-Finity and T950 achieved the highest scores of tape libraries in the dual and single robotics categories, respectively. In addition to supporting all major backup software, the T-Finity was one of the few tape libraries that scaled to hold petabytes of data, included redundant robotics, and had comprehensive software for managing tape media. Spectra's midrange tape libraries scored well with the T680, T380, T200 and T120 each achieving ‘Excellent’ rankings.
Further, the study found that renewed interest in tape may be due to several factors including low power consumption, space efficiency in relation to disk options, and data reliability and accessibility tools. With new functions available on some modern tape libraries, combined with the likelihood that much of unstructured data is accessed infrequently or never, tape libraries can be a viable choice for storing large data sets.
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