Spectra Logic Among Those Selected by University of Oslo for National Cloud Storage Project

The University of Oslo has selected a Spectra Logic T-Finity coupled with QStar’s Archive Manager 6.0 to upgrade its storage systems as part of the NorStore project, where the country’s research community benefits from a government-funded storage infrastructure. With a requirement for 24/7, easy access to large volumes of scientific data, storage reliability is paramount to the University.

SpectralogicNorStore is a Norwegian national data storage project designed to provide the Norwegian research community from all universities, university colleges and research organizations with a centralized storage infrastructure, hosted by the University of Oslo. Financed by the Research Council of Norway and the participating centers, the infrastructure must provide easy and secure access to distributed storage resources, facilitate the creation and use of digital scientific repositories, provide large aggregate capacities for storage and data transfer, and optimize the utilization of the overall storage capacity.

Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo is Norway’s largest and oldest institution of higher education. The university has over 27,000 students and 5,900 staff and the University Center for Information Technology Services (USIT) employs over 250 people to support its IT infrastructure, which includes 12,000 Windows PCs, 1,500 Mac clients, 1,000 Linux clients, 300 Windows servers, 1,500 Unix/Linux servers and associated systems such as SANs and backup applications.

USIT staff was finding that the capacity and flexibility of the legacy storage no longer met the University’s requirements for the NorStore project. The system comprised  of solutions that, as time passed, ran older architectures that were challenging and costly to run due to vendor fragmentation, expiring support contracts, frequent hardware failures and expensive and impractical offline requirements for routine maintenance. Furthermore, the unrelenting growth in data from scientific activities was putting additional pressure on the ageing system.

The University needed a new storage infrastructure that would offer a high degree of consolidation, management centralization, performance and flexibility, as well as scalability, within its budget constraints.

Lars Oftedal, IT director at the university, explained the selection process, “We looked at several bids but found that the Spectra Logic and QStar solution would not only meet all our initial criteria but also provide compatibility with iRODS. The Spectra Logic T-Finity library and QStar Archive Manager have saved us on several fronts including development and financial costs.”

The installation process and setup were straight forward and had only negligible impact on daily operations. Now the infrastructure includes:

  • Hitachi Data Systems Unified Storage and High Performance NAS systems:
    • 4 Hitachi Unified Storage VM Controllers
    • I cluster of High Performance NAS (HNAS 3090) with two nodes initially
    • 4 PB of primary storage
    • 4 Brocade switches
    • Everything including management delivered in only 9 racks
  • Spectra Logic T-Finity
    • Three frame configuration and 918 slots
    • 4 TS1140 Technology drives
    • 3.6 PB capacity (of which 3 PB for NorStore)
  • QStar
    • 4×2 TB disks for cache
    • NAS presentation of tape resource

Oftedal added, “The Spectra Logic T-Finity tape library gives us up to 4 PB of capacity initially, and we expect this to be quickly allocated. For us, data preservation and bit corruption detection and correction are critical and the combination of Hitachi, QStar and Spectra Logic has allowed us to tick these boxes while remaining within budget.”

The award-winning Spectra Logic T-Finity has a modern design that offers industry-leading scalability with the performance necessary to meet the requirements of the most data-intensive environments in the world. T-Finity redefines what customers should expect from modern tape archive and backup solutions, with unmatched features and significant CapEx and OpEx savings. To help the University of Oslo preserve their data, T-Finity offers a sophisticated suite of standard Data Integrity Verification features that allow them to actively check data already written to tape. T-Finity also easily incrementally scales to 3.6 exabytes of compressed capacity with TS1140 technology tape drives. This extreme capacity can be stored without giving up the industry’s leading density and ease of management that are hallmarks of Spectra enterprise libraries.

The QStar clustered servers provide an active / passive configuration as deployed by the University of Oslo. Data is staged to a disk cache, also part of the previously mentioned Hitachi HUS-VM system, and gives the user the ability to store to tape through a NAS-like NFS interface. Frequently accessed archived files are immediately available from the disk cache and older less frequently accessed content is automatically retrieved from the Spectra Logic T-Finity library. Users are deciding on the number of tape copies to be created, whether one, two or more, to meet their individual needs and budgets. USIT is taking advantage of TDO, QStar’s proprietary file system, to benefit from near 100% media utilization.

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