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Oxford Implements Hybrid Scale-Out NAS for High-Performance Computing

Oxford University has implemented a hybrid scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) system to support its high-performance computing (HPC) center for research.

According to Andrew Richards, head of the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) Centre at Oxford, the center doesn't have a large IT support staff available at all times, so they needed a solution that offered "manageability, load balancing and performance monitoring," he said in a prepared statement. The solution also needed to be compatible with a range of HPC systems already in place at the center.

The university selected the ActiveStor 14 hybrid scale-out NAS system from Panasas with 330 TB of storage. According to the company, the system provides the university with "a single pool of storage under a global name space." The technology is based on a fifth-generation storage blade architecture, uses a combination of high capacity hard disk drives and solid state drives and runs the Panasas PanFS storage operating system. According to information on the company's site, the ActiveStor 14 system is suitable for environments requiring high capacity and throughput.

The ARC Centre provides researchers throughout the university with access to HPC resources, including distributed memory, shared memory and graphics-processing unit (GPU)-enabled HPC clusters. According to the company, the ActiveStor 14 system will provide university researchers "with the storage required for home areas, general purpose mid-term projects and high-performance short-term jobs."

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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