In August, Compute Canada in partnership with its member institutions announced the results of a multi-million dollar investment in a national big data storage solutions for Canada’s growing community of advanced computing researchers.
“We designed, together with our partners, a Canadian solution that is unique in the world,” says Mark Dietrich, Compute Canada President and CEO. “Globally, this gives Canada and Canadian researchers an advantage, because of Compute Canada’s national platform and federated model for service delivery. We are able to deliver accessible, national solutions on a common platform across the country. These new storage systems, initially capable of storing 40 petabytes of research data, will be allocated on a peer-reviewed basis to support some of Canada’s most accomplished and innovative researchers.”
The national approach stretches funding dollars and leverages Compute Canada’s expertise across the country to ensure the procurement of the best technology solutions. There will be a storage component for each of the four new national advanced computing sites at the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, being deployed over the next 18 months.
These systems will be accessible from across the country and represent the initial investment in a national infrastructure that will support the exponential growth of research data. “When desired, individual institutions or organizations will have opportunities to deploy storage locally and can federate their local repository into the national system,” says Dr. Greg Newby, Compute Canada’s Chief Technology Officer. “This provides enhanced privacy and sharing capabilities on a robust, country-wide solution with improved data security and back-up. This is a great solution to address the data explosion we are currently experiencing in Canada and globally.”
Planned investments, to be made through late 2017, will grow the system to approximately 62 petabytes (PB) of persistent, available online storage across the four national sites. This will be backed up by a comparable quantity of tape storage. This is the first installment of the renewal of Compute Canada’s advanced research computing platform in Canada, with capital funding provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Ontario Research Fund (ORF-RI) and the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). The new storage systems will be operated by Compute Canada and its partner institutions, with operational funding from the CFI’s Major Science Initiatives (MSI) program, matched by provincial and institutional funds.
Storage requests from last year’s Compute Canada resource allocation process totaled to nearly double the available resources. The community of advanced research computing (ARC) users continues to grow, more than doubling in the past 5 years. Compute Canada’s national platform now supports over 3,000 faculty in Canada, with approximately 10,000 users overall.
Compute Canada will be working closely with Scalar, IBM and DDN to build this integrated national data infrastructure. These three companies were selected through an open, competitive process to deliver the hardware and software components of the new storage cyberinfrastructure.