MSI Purchases New Storage System

UPDATE: The new storage system will be activated on January 9, 2013. All data should be migrated to the new system during January - July 2013. Complete information can be found on the Panasas Migration Guide webpage. 

The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) is putting into a production a new Panasas ActiveStor 14 data-storage system.

The new system will consist of twenty shelves of Panasas ActiveStor 14 storage provided by Advanced Clustering Technologies, Inc. and Panasas, and will integrate filesystem and hardware for a single storage solution. The usable storage capacity will be 1.281 PB, and each shelf will be capable of 1.5 GB/sec or 13,500 IOPS. The full solution will be capable of 30 GB/sec read/write and 270,000 IOPS.

The ActiveStor 14 solution will support up to 12,000 simultaneous clients as well as CIFS, NFS, and Panasas's high-performance PanFS filesystem. The solution also incorporates 24 TB of solid-state drives (SSDs) as part of the hardware solution.

The new system will allow users to do things they couldn't do before. As a central storage solution with excellent performance specifications, it eliminate the need to transfer data within systems at MSI while meeting the challenging requirements of users with large sets of data. Current MSI users are required to migrate their data between high-performance scratch storage and capacity project space storage, which has created, for many, bottlenecks in their data flow. The new system will blur the line between these two storage types. Users will be able, for example, to generate data on MSI's flagship Itasca system and use an MSI laboratory queue to visualize it.

Overall, the new storage system will more than double the capacity of MSI's current storage offering. It will enable users both to perform more interesting research with datasets of finer resolution and to operate on enormous datasets that in the past presented operational challenges. Related to these issues, MSI will address the often overlooked need for access bandwidth by employing a capable system of servers for moving data to and from storage, and it will employ a set of data movers to efficiently channel data between MSI users and external consumers and producers of data. Generally, the new storage system will strike a balance between bandwidth and IOPS. Given the explosion of research with large data requirements, the above capabiliites are key to enabling research of the future.

The Panasas ActiveStor 14 solution will give MSI researchers a significant edge in research and establish MSI as a leader in research inolving big data. In addition to being one of the largest storge systems among U.S. universities (1.281 PB of usable storage, 24 TB of SSD, and 1.84 TB of cache), MSI's system will also be one of the fastest among U.S. universities with respect to storage bandwidth.

The system is expected to be delivered in late November 2012.

UPDATE 12/10/12: The system has been delivered. 

Further information will be posted on our website and disseminated to MSI users as it becomes available.