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HECToR supercomputer gains new storage environment

Providing 7.8PB of storage and an additional 19.5PB of backup capability, a new storage environment has been added to the HECToR (High-End Computing Terascale Resource) supercomputer, boosting long-term data storage for hundreds of UK researchers. Designed to out-live HECToR, the new storage environment has been built independently to complement the supercomputer’s existing 1PB of disk space.

‘We needed a more a data-centric view of high performance computing,’ said Professor Arthur Trew, University of Edinburgh. ‘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.’ 

Using hardware from DataDirect Networks (DDN) and archive hardware and file management software from IBM, the storage was designed and built by data processing, data management and storage provider OCF. DDN Storage Fusion Architecture (SFA) 10K-X provides the 7.8PB of useable storage capacity and the IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library (TS3500 tape library), which is designed to provide a highly scalable, automated tape library for mainframe and open systems backup and archive in midrange to enterprise environments, delivers 19.5PB of capacity. IBM’s General Parallel File System (GPFS) software enables asynchronous access and control of local and remote files, interdepartmental file sharing and cost-effective disaster recovery.

HECToR is hosted by EPCC at the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

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