Spectra Logic, Tandy Supercomputer Shorten Calculation Rates

The Tandy Supercomputing Center (TSC) selected a Spectra Logic nTier Verde disk-based file storage system to increase its workflow performance and shorten calculation rates from days to minutes. Spectra’s solution enabled TSC to boost data access speeds for multiple users by moving lower-priority, lower-performance operations from a primary storage tier to an affordable, flexible, high-capacity file storage system.

spectra“In an unpredictable HPC environment with multiple users from a variety of institutions and disciplines, storage has been one of our biggest IT challenges. We needed the tools to react to the evolving needs of our users, quickly and flexibly,” said George Louthan, director, Tandy Supercomputing Center. “The nTier Verde/T50e combination is ideally suited to our shared environment and supports our data staging, backup and archive needs more flexibly and affordably than the market alternatives.”

Recently implemented, the Spectra storage solution is already saving both time and lives. A post-doctoral research associate at OSU Center for Health Sciences used the supercomputer to refine a software technology developed to predict the onset of heart attacks. Computational time was reduced by more than 95 percent. Computations that previously took 20 to 30 minutes were finished in less than a minute, and this data is securely stored within TSC’s Spectra Logic storage solution.

TSC’s new storage solution includes a Spectra T50e tape library along with the nTier Verde system to increase its research and engineering workflow performance, caching backups and providing nearline storage for its community’s data sets. TSC manages approximately 30 TB of escalating data, consisting primarily of scientific data sets for research projects, for a community of users that includes four higher education institutions and multiple private sector users. The nTier stages TSC’s backup data using AMANDA backup software before it is sent to the T50e tape library, which uses LTO-6 tape drives and media for backup. The Spectra Logic solution offers transparent file storage, allowing many users to easily retrieve files without needing to know where it is located. The configuration allows metadata operations and background tasks to run simultaneously without impacting the performance of ordinary file access operations.

“Spectra’s nTier Verde is an affordable file storage platform ideal for high performance, high transactional and multi-user environments like the one Tandy Supercomputing manages,” said Brian Grainger, executive vice president of sales and sales operations, Spectra Logic. “The reliable, flexible disk platform significantly boosts speeds to increase efficiency for multiple users accessing data at any given time, and offloads the costly primary storage platform.”

“Spectra Logic’s products have a strategic roadmap that greatly appeals to us. The nTier Verde is affordable, scalable, easy to use and extremely flexible. As a result, it allows us to address the ever-changing needs that commonly occur in our HPC environment,” Louthan added.  “The Spectra nTier Verde met Tandy Supercomputing’s requirements for an efficient tape-disk solution that delivered good performance, speed, reliability and price per terabyte.”

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