NCSA Taps Spectra Logic T-Finity Tape Library for Massive New Supercomputing System

Spectra Logic has announced that the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) has selected its T-Finity tape libraries to provide 100% of the near-line data storage for its upcoming Blue Waters supercomputing system. The Blue Waters system will be one of the world’s largest active file repositories stored on tape media and will scale to a capacity of 380 raw PBs within the first two years of operation. Spectra T-Finity tape libraries will provide the Blue Waters project with the ability to keep all near-line data accessible in an active repository, perform automated data integrity verification for the data store, and deliver high performance read/write rates of up to 2.2 PBs per hour utilizing enterprise TS1140 Technology tape drives.

Scientists will use the Blue Waters supercomputer for a diverse set of applications, including predicting the behavior of hurricanes and tornadoes, analyzing complex biological systems, understanding how the cosmos evolved after the Big Bang, designing new materials at the atomic level, and simulating complex engineered systems like the power distribution system in airplanes and automobiles.

“NCSA designed Blue Waters to be one of the largest, most powerful supercomputing ecosystems in the world,” says Bill Kramer deputy director of the Blue Waters project at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The Spectra Logic T-Finity met our rigorous requirements with its high enterprise-level performance, ready data accessibility and massively scalable capacity. We are confident it will provide our user community with fast, reliable access to the massive volumes of critical data stored within Blue Waters’ Petascale near-line file repository.”

The Blue Waters project is designed to meet the compute-intensive, memory-intensive, and data-intensive needs of a wide range of scientists and engineers, and is supported by the National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois and the University of Illinois. It will feature an integrated storage environment that is initially scalable to over 380 PBs, which is the equivalent of 5,054 years of HD-TV video or a stack of books over 9 times the distance from the earth to the moon.
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 Spectra Logic 17-frame T-Finity tape libraries in year two of operations.

“We are pleased to partner with NCSA and support one of the most powerful and cutting-edge supercomputers in the world,” says Nathan Thompson, founder and CEO, Spectra Logic. “Spectra Logic has been a constant innovator of tape technologies over the past thirty years. It is gratifying to see tape-based storage play a major role in one of the largest, best practice HPC deployments to date and to help support the important scientific breakthroughs and advancements the Blue Waters project will enable.”

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.

“Integration of the T-Finity with IBM’s enterprise TS1140 Technology tape drives was a critical component to address the needs of the Blue Waters project,” says Joe Fannin, president of NET Source. “Given Spectra’s support of TS1140 Technology and proven storage solutions, Spectra Logic was clearly the ideal solution to meet Blue Waters’ high performance, data-intensive storage needs.”

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