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Cancer researcher gets Nodeum LTFS tape NAS

Belgium-based OncoDNA replaces IBM tape library with flash-powered Nodeum LTFS to provide file access to backup and archive tapes at approaching nearline timescales

Belgium-based cancer research organisation OncoDNA has deployed a flash-plus-tape linear tape file system (LTFS) archive from Nodeum to store 100TB of data and save money on hardware costs and power usage.

OncoDNA is based in Gosselies, Belgium, and employs around 50 people to provide software platforms for cancer specialists. Its OncoShare and OncoKDM platforms provide genetic profiling of cancer mutations and drug information as well as a big data platform that helps labs manage data generated by genetic sequencers.

Data is held while in production on EMC storage arrays, but is archived to tape when live processes are completed. Depending on the data, it needs to be held for up to 30 years.

OncoDNA was using an IBM tape library for backup and archiving data, but that hardware had no way of indexing or allowing data to be searched. A database was therefore used to keep track of it and manage retention attributes.

Gregori Ghitti, OncoDNA’s IT director, said: “We have one systems engineer, so it was difficult for him to manage.”

OncoDNA deployed Nodeum, which marries disk – in this case 8TB of flash – with 92TB of tape in an Oracle tape library.

Nodeum is the product of Belgian consulting firm MT-C. It uses the highly scalable Linux journaling file system Ext4 to index the content catalogue and metadata for data that resides in the LTFS file system, which is held in the tape library.

Read more about LTFS

  • LTFS offers the potential to build nearline storage at the cost of tape, but with NAS-like file access. Sounds great, but when will it catch on?
  • LTFS tape NAS: What it is and how to build it. This guide walks you through LTFS and tape NAS.

Nodeum uses disk (including flash) to power file system operations and provide quicker access to data in use.

LTFS puts a file system on top of a tape library and turns it into something like a tape-NAS, making it suitable for archive use cases. LTFS is also available in SpectraLogic’s Black Pearl product.

The benefits, said Ghitti, are that all backup and archive data are in one location with easy access via LTFS. Also, costs were reduced for the company.

“It’s less expensive to use Nodeum as a product, and with flash and tape combined we use a lot less power than previously.”

Nodeum can be bought as a software product and built with commodity server hardware and a tape library.

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