There’s a saying in equestrian circles, “No hoof, no horse.” In the world of HPC, this translates as “No storage, no system.”
In the not too distant past storage was often an afterthought when configuring a new supercomputer — an uninteresting but useful appendage that performed quietly in the background while rows of fancifully painted compute cabinets hogged the limelight. In one apocryphal industry story, a university alumni fund presented its alma mater with a leading-edge HPC system so it could join the hallowed ranks of the TOP500. The machine screamed through the LINPACK tests. Only problem was that after the handshaking and backslapping was over, the university’s researchers found they couldn’t use the system — no one had made any provision for adequate, high-speed storage.