OSC to more than double HPC research storage

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sep 24, 2019) — 

Soon, researchers throughout Ohio and beyond will have access to larger and even more secure storage options when it comes to housing their voluminous and potentially sensitive data.

OSC is set to deploy an additional 8.6 petabytes of high performance computing storage in late 2019.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is working with IBM to expand the center’s high performance computing (HPC) storage capacity by 8.6 petabytes. This could also be described as 8.6 million gigabytes and is equivalent to the storage space that would be required to store nearly 60 billion Facebook photos. The expansion, slated for completion in December, will augment the existing 5.3 petabytes of existing client storage deployed at OSC in 2016.

“As science, technology and engineering advance, the need for larger and more powerful computer and storage systems is vital to meet the demands of Ohio’s top faculty members,” said David Hudak, executive director of OSC. “Data science, in particular, has driven exponential increases in the demand for storage to support research and analysis for various projects, such as for genomic sequencing in health care and real-time weather prediction in meteorology.”

Each year, OSC systems serve the computational and storage needs of more than 3,000 academic, government and industry researchers. The Center offers each client three types of high-performance storage: a home directory that is backed-up daily; a project space that is usually larger than home, tuned for faster reads and backed up daily; and scratch service, which is temporary, high-throughput storage designed to support large, data-intensive computations. In addition to high-performance disk storage, OSC provides researchers with access to 10 petabytes of long-term, tape-cartridge backup storage.

The OSC storage project will be based upon IBM Elastic Storage Server technology, a modern implementation of software-defined storage featuring IBM Spectrum Scale, Version 5, file system data management software. The new storage system will expand capacity for scratch and project storage, but also allow OSC to offer data encryption and full file-system audit capabilities that can support secure storage of sensitive data, such as medical data or other personally identifiable information.

“As more researchers with sensitive data sets need HPC resources, we must continue to enhance our data security and procedures to safeguard sensitive information,” said Douglas Johnson, chief systems architect for OSC. “This expansion provides the Center with additional security features necessary for high assurance data covered by federal rules and regulations, such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Export Administration Regulations, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.”

The Center is working with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and others to gather initial requirements for a protected data environment that can be offered to clients in the near future.

"We are thrilled that OSC is turning to IBM to address the storage demands driven by its cutting-edge research projects and scientific discoveries,” said Doug O’Flaherty, director of product marketing for IBM Storage. “OSC is not only increasing its high-performance storage capacity, they are adding critical security, audit and control required for sensitive data. IBM Elastic Storage Sever with IBM Spectrum Scale delivers simplified data management, data efficiency and performance that will help push their research boundaries like never before.”