The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) used clustered NAS from Sun Microsystems when it needed storage for images of the sun it downloads from NASA at a rate of 1.5 TB every day. The university opted for a usable 98 TB of Sun Thumper NAS capacity running its ZFS file system to store image files that it processes on an Intel Nehalem-based Sun high-performance computing (HPC) cluster recently installed by integrator OCF.
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The Sun clustered NAS hardware — which supports work carried out in collaboration with NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory — was chosen after UCLan evaluated products from several storage vendors, said HPC manager Stephen Chapman. "We looked at several different vendors -- including IBM, Dell and HP -- but the Sun Thumper product with two JBODs attached and all running under ZFS provided a complete solution to our needs."
Chapman said the Dell iSCSI product failed to meet his needs on grounds of bandwidth, which he hopes to upgrade to InfiniBand at some stage. "We needed a single, large file system, which none of the other vendors could offer, and for which purpose ZFS fitted the bill perfectly," he added.
Currently, UCLan uses all SATA drives on the Sun array and is protecting its data with dual parity RAID 6.
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