Los Alamos lab chooses object-based storage

Los Alamos National Laboratory is to install a 1,400-node Linux cluster using a new object-based file system technology for data...

Los Alamos National Laboratory is to install a 1,400-node Linux cluster using a new object-based file system technology for data storage.

Gary Grider, manager of scalable I/O systems at Los Alamos, said the lab will use's network-attached storage (NAS) technology from  start-up Panasas to spread file management capabilities across commodity servers while still achieving high levels of computing power and I/O throughput.

Grider added that the Panasas ActiveScale device gives him 4GB/sec. throughput and the ability to store up to 600TB on the planned cluster, which will be used to run simulations of nuclear weapons tests.

Unlike conventional NAS products, which store metadata apart from files, object-based devices like ActiveStage break files into chunks that include file data, metadata and other information, such as quality-of-service details.

Proponents said the technology should speed up the process of accessing files.

Arun Taneja, an analyst at Taneja Group, said that with the market for Linux-based server clusters on the rise, object-based storage could offer users in the scientific community almost limitless data scalability.

The Linux cluster will use Pentium-based servers priced at about $2,000, Grider said. Los Alamos has been testing the cluster with ActiveStage for about nine months and now has the production system in place.

Panasas said ActiveScale includes 10 slots for specialised blade servers, each supporting up to 500GB of storage. Pricing starts at $25,000 for a 1.6TB configuration.

Lucas Mearian writes for Computerworld

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