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ThinkParQ Launches BeeGFS on Demand Parallel Storage

beegfsThis week ThinkParQ launched BeeGFS on Demand parallel storage offering. Dubbed BeeOND, the new offering allows users with HPC clusters to generate job-dedicated parallel filesystem instances on demand.

With the announcement of BeeOND we take the next step in parallel storage,” said Jan Heichler from ThinkParQ. It can not only be used as a burst buffer for write-intensive workloads, but enables system administrators to free up their central storage from all kinds of performance-critical workloads – and at the same time boost the performance of them. We see that the adoption of SSDs for storing data in compute nodes is not very broad yet, mostly because capacity is still expensive while a single SSD provides more than enough performance for a single compute node. BeeOND will solve this problem by aggregating the capacity of several reserved compute nodes into one shared name space. And with its efficient architecture it will also deliver the aggregated performance. We consider this a game changer for a range of applications.”

insideHPC readers may remember that BeeGFS is the new name for the the Fraunhofer Parallel Cluster File System, which has been taken to market (Red Hat style) and fully supported for the enterprise by ThinkParQ.

Today’s HPC workloads are demanding when it comes to storage performance. More and more HPC cluster systems come with a central storage system based on a parallel filesystem. Still, for some workloads with special I/O-patterns, compute nodes are often equipped with local hard disks or SSDs. The issue with that approach is that one doesn’t have either the advantage of a single name space nor the flexibility and performance of a number of aggregated drives. This is where BeeOND comes into play by providing a shared parallel filesystem on a “per job basis” across all compute nodes being assigned to that particular job. It is based on the extremely lightweight architecture of BeeGFS and also includes a fully scalable metadata architecture – therefor BeeOND doesn’t interfere with the running application.

BeeOND is designed to aggregate IOPS, bandwidth and capacity of local SSDs or hard disks in compute nodes for the duration of a compute job. This adds a new way of flexible usage to many compute clusters. Furthermore it integrates with workload managers such as torque or PBS Pro for easy usage. The startup and destruction of the filesystem don’t take more than a few seconds due to the efficient architecture of BeeOND.

Workloads that make use of a dedicated shared storage can be found in a range of fields of scientific computing. Especially life science workloads with frequent access to genome repositories and chemistry codes that store data structures on persistent storage are predestined. But also BigData Analytics matches the profile very well: BeeOND enables general purpose clusters to run map/reduce workloads without big changes on the software side.

BeeOND will be available in March, 2015 with commercial support available through ThinkParQ. It will also come with a special tool for efficient stage-in and stage-out of data from and back to the global cluster storage system. BeeOND can be used independent of whether the global shared cluster file system is based on BeeGFS or on other technology.

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