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Imperial College Protects Vital Research Data With Software-Defined Storage Infrastructure Using ArcaStream and Excelero
[June 17, 2019]

Imperial College Protects Vital Research Data With Software-Defined Storage Infrastructure Using ArcaStream and Excelero


ArcaStream and Excelero, leaders in scale-out software-defined storage, said that their solutions were part of a new software-defined storage deployment at Imperial College London, one of the world's leading university research centres for science, engineering, medicine and business. By moving to a single high-performance storage infrastructure that integrates legacy and new resources, Imperial College London reduced storage complexity, increased agility in managing capacity and performance, and gained significant ROI. Backed by its new system, the university also improved usability, enacted a simpler and more cost-effective charge back policy, and embraced a future-proof approach to staying ahead of the continual multi-petabyte per year growth of their data holdings.

Expansion in Imperial College London's Research Computing Services over the past decade had resulted in over 30 separate and independently managed islands of storage - silos that were difficult to access, manage and use. The group needed to enable researchers to access data with ease and speed, so they remain solely focused on their research projects - while integrating legacy and future compute systems and managing data throughout its life-cycle in line with stringent regulatory compliance guidelines.

The new Research Data Store (RDS) is built around ArcaStream PixStor™, a high-performance scalable storage platform based on IBM (News - Alert) Spectrum Scale™ parallel file system, which combines flash, disk, tape, and cloud storage into a single global name space. The infrastructure is geographically dispersed with a 5PB storage repository at a primary site and a secondary site for disaster recovery, served by PixStor with asynchronous replicaion and intelligent tiering to external storage targets. RDS also includes Excelero's NVMesh®, software that enables the sharing of NVMe Flash storage resources across any network and supports any local or distributed file system. NVMesh provides a scalable NVMe tier for extreme metadata performance. Users benefit from the performance of local flash with the convenience of centralized storage while reducing the overall storage total cost of ownership.



With this new robust infrastructure, Imperial College London's RDS now simultaneously serves 2,000 existing HPC nodes and over 3,000 users seamlessly, with 20GB/s of throughput with no loss of interactive user performance.

"The usability of the systems for interactive use in particular has improved significantly," explains Matthew Harvey, RDS project lead and RCS Manager at Imperial College. "Previously, there were frequent interruptions to interactive use because the file system load for some compute jobs effectively squeezed out users. Users would log into the system, type in their search criteria but it could take more than 10 seconds to respond. Now that is a thing of the past."


The new RDS supports a charge-back strategy where researchers cost-out storage as services on their grants - instead of charging users based on reserve capacity. More effective management of storage capacity also allowed the College to avoid costly additions. The ArcaStream platform provides tools and insight needed to understand the access patterns of data on the file system for each project allocation. "This information governance is enabling us to store valuable data more intelligently and economically," Imperial College London's Matthew Harvey continued.

Excelero and ArcaStream will showcase the performance and efficiency of their solutions at the ISC High Performance Event 2019, June 16-20 in Frankfurt in Excelero's booth E-1039. For more information, visit www.arcastream.com or www.excelero.com

About ArcaStream

ArcaStream Ltd was formed in 2012 and features the most experienced independent team of scale-out storage and networking experts in the UK. ArcaStream delivers bespoke scale-out storage and data management solutions designed exclusively for the needs of research and simulation users.

By providing its customers with a hardware-agnostic strategic platform for growth, ArcaStream enables organisations to efficiently and granularly manage data storage costs as demands fluctuate and requirements change, without being tied to any particular storage hardware manufacturer. As a result, procurement departments are able to make decisions based on best value metrics at the time of expansion, without any disruption to the business and its users.

About Excelero

Excelero delivers low-latency distributed block storage for web-scale applications such as AI, machine learning and GPU computing. Founded in 2014 by a team of storage veterans and inspired by the Tech Giants' shared-nothing architectures for web-scale applications, the company has designed a software-defined block storage solution that meets the low-latency performance and scalability requirements of the largest web-scale and enterprise applications.

Excelero's NVMesh enables shared NVMe across any network and supports any local or distributed file system. Customers benefit from the performance of local flash with the convenience of centralized storage while avoiding proprietary hardware lock-in and reducing the overall storage TCO. NVMesh is deployed by major web-scale customers, for data analytics and machine learning applications and in Media & Entertainment post-production and HPC environments.

Follow us on Twitter (News - Alert) @Excelerostorage, on LinkedIn or visit us at www.excelero.com to learn more.


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