Quantum Makes HPC Push With StorNext 4.0

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Remember when HPC environment node counts were very small?  Remember when file system scalability across those nodes was relatively simple?  Realistic file system scalability (performance, accessibility and capacity) is no easy task in today’s HPC universe.  However, there might be a new player with an old hat ready to capitalize on the recent HPC growth.

Last week, I was contacted by the folks at Quantum in order potentially schedule an interview on “an exciting new product development related to HPC.”  I was somewhat perplexed as I didn’t normally qualify Quantum as an organization with thick ties to HPC.  I was struck by the mysterious nature of the invitation, so I bit and scheduled the interview.

I spent an hour with Shawn Klein of Quantum talking about a new StorNext file system release that they’re particularly proud of.  Why?  StorNext is just another shared file system with a global namespace, right?  Negative.  StorNext 4.0 has come a long way from its pitherings in cross platform support.  The most striking takeaway from the meeting was that Quantum is now specifically targeting the HPC market with certain features in the new file system release.

For example, the Baylor College of Medicine is actually using StorNext in an HPC environment dedicated to genome sequencing.

With such high volumes of data generated daily from DNA sequencing, and the need to access hundreds of terabytes of data at any given time, StorNext offers the scalability and support we need,” said Geraint Morgan, director of information systems at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Human Genome Sequencing Center. “Over the next year, we expect storage requirements of over two petabytes and we hope to leverage StorNext’s new deduplication advancements and enterprise replication features to accommodate this growth.

So what’s different from last year’s model and how do they achieve scale?

StorNext is comprised of two core software components: StorNext File System and StorNext Storage Manager. The StorNext File System enables companies to share files easily and preserve investments by giving applications running on UNIX, Linux, Windows and/or Macintosh operating systems concurrent access to a common file store. Its open architecture StorNext highly scalable and allows data sharing by both SAN- and LAN-based clients. StorNext is also storage vendor agnostic, enabling users to leverage any mix of disk and tape. StorNext Storage Manager provides automated movement of data between different storage tiers based on user-defined policies and file access requirements. Combined with DDM, StorNext Manager is ideal for large-scale storage environments. In addition, because it integrates with the virtualization capabilities of the StorNext File System, Storage Manager makes files accessible to client applications regardless of whether they are stored onsite or offsite.

For those not already familiar with StorNext, they now have the ability to transform their client nodes into “data mover” nodes.  These nodes act as file system network gateways into the entire hierarchical underbelly, giving you the ability (the company claims) to independently scale performance and capacity.

StorNext is a familiar name within the file system community, but keep an eye on Quantum for supercomputing.  They may be popping up in an HPC center near you.