DDN Drives Discoveries at Van Andel Research Institute

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Today DDN announced that Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), a premier independent research organization, has implemented DDN’s GS7K parallel file storage and WOS object storage to replace fragmented data silos with powerful, scalable centralized storage for up to 2PB of instrument and research data.

According to Zachary Ramjan, research computing architect for Van Andel Research Institute, consolidating primary data storage for both state-of-the-art scientific instruments and research computing offers better protection for irreplaceable data while reducing infrastructure costs considerably.

“Deploying DDN’s end-to-end storage solution has allowed us to elevate the standard of protection, increase compliance and push the boundaries of science on a single, highly scalable storage platform,” said Ramjan. “We’ve also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by centralizing the storage of our data-intensive research and a dozen data-hungry scientific instruments on DDN. With all these advantages it is easy to see why DDN is core to our operation and a major asset to our scientists.”

The recent addition of three powerful cryo-electron microscopes (cryo-EM) enables scientists to see the structure of molecules that are one-ten-thousandth the width of a human hair, and is expected to quadruple VARI’s storage requirements. The Institute’s scientists also are conducting data-and storage-intensive trailblazing molecular dynamics simulations and large-scale sequencing projects in the search for new ways to diagnose and treat cancer, Parkinson’s and many other diseases.

After determining that an IBM Spectrum Scale (formerly known as GPFS) parallel file system was the way to meet current and future storage needs, VARI chose DDN’s GS7K parallel file system appliance with enterprise-class features, including snapshots, rollbacks and replication. The Institute also selected DDN’s WOS storage to provide an active archive for greater global data sharing and research collaboration.

Most important, DDN simplified data tiering between the GS7K and WOS, providing a single storage system that enables instrument and other research data to be ingested, analyzed and shared in the most performant and cost-efficient manner. In addition, DDN’s OpenStack driver significantly streamlined storage integration with VARI’s hybrid on-premises and cloud-computing environment.

With DDN’s highly scalable storage solution, the institute is prepared to generate up to 13TB a day using its cryo-EM technology to transform single-particle analysis and tomography while easily accommodating ongoing spikes in computation and genomic sequencing. As a result, VARI can better support an ever-increasing cadre of scientists with diverse research demands and aggressive project timelines.

Extremely large datasets are automatically transferred to our DDN storage without scientists having to worry about it at all,” says Dr. Gongpu Zhao, cryo-EM core manager at Van Andel Research Institute. “It’s quite amazing that we can keep our data in one place, so everyone can access it at the same time. This will allow our researchers to conduct even more groundbreaking research while accelerating the pace of major scientific discoveries.”

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