OSC improves data storage and backup capacity


Columbus, Ohio, January 5, 2022 – The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) recently upgraded two services to allow customers to store more data at a faster rate and to strengthen data backup.
The OSC Columbus data center tape library is currently capable of storing up to 23.5 petabytes (PB) with room for up to 141 PB of tape.

“These two projects are examples of how OSC continues to expand the capacity and performance of computer storage and networking so that we can be a useful resource for researchers using OSC and the issues they are dealing with. are trying to resolve, “said Doug Johnson, associate director of the OSC.

The first project, completed in December 2021, upgraded home directory hardware initially deployed in 2016. OSC worked with its current vendor, NetApp, to seamlessly update the service with minimal disruption to customers, Johnson said. Home directories have doubled the amount of data OSC can store and are now more than three times faster than the old storage system.

Home directories are only one facet of OSC’s storage services, but they are essential in providing consistent and reliable storage for client scripts and small data sets, Johnson explained.

The second OSC project, slated for completion in January 2022, is the development of a new disaster recovery location in Cleveland for data storage. This initiative will provide a physical twin of the Columbus Center Tape Library. “Every day when we back up data, we will replicate these changes in downtown Cleveland,” Johnson said.

The Columbus tape library currently backs up nearly 3 billion files with an overall size of over 8 petabytes (PB). The tape backup infrastructure is capable of redundantly storing up to 23.5PB of data and is expected to scale to over 141PB of capacity in the coming years.

OSC worked with the Shared Infrastructure and OARnet divisions of the Ohio Technology Consortium, leveraging an existing remote data center presence in northern Ohio and an increase in network transport capacity (100 gigabits per second) as part of this project.

The Cleveland Tape Library has several advantages for customers, such as providing critical backup media for researchers whose work is funded by agencies that require long-term data storage.

“For us, being able to provide this service in a cost-effective way that integrates well with other OSC systems will be helpful for our community,” Johnson said.

Both service upgrades are critical at a time when OSC is experiencing increased demand for its resources, said Brian Guilfoos, HPC Client Services Manager.

“The changes accelerated by COVID have resulted in significant growth in the number of classrooms leveraging OSC for educational purposes,” Guilfoos said. “Our ‘virtual computer labs’ provide students with cohesive environments that are easily accessible from personal computing devices. As a result, we are seeing significantly more users year over year, requiring growth in the infrastructure supporting these user accounts. “

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