'Super' storage for supercomputer

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Western Australia has deployed a pair of DDN GRIDScaler® parallel file system appliances with 5PBs of storage as well as an additional 2PBs of DDN capacity to support diverse research, simulations and visualizations in radio astronomy, renewable energy and geosciences, among several other scientific disciplines.




At Pawsey, DDN’s GRIDScaler delivers the performance and stability needed to address 50 large data collections and contribute towards scientific outcomes for some of the thousand scientists who benefit from Pawsey services.





The prevalence of Pawsey’s data-intensive projects creates a constant need to store massive media files, videos, images, text and metadata that must be stitched together, accessed, searched, shared and archived. “Scientists come to us with lots of speculative technologies with different protocols and access methods, so flexibility is key," said Neil Stringfellow, executive director of Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. "We need to adapt to changing research requirements, whether we need to support Big Data analytics, HPC processing and global data sharing as well as connect with some new service or technology.”





Pawsey plays a pivotal role in the trailblazing Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project, which focuses on building a next-generation radio telescope that will be more sensitive and powerful than today’s most advanced telescopes, to survey the universe with incredible depth and speed. The center also uses DDN storage to support the game-changing Desert Fireball Network (DFN) project, which uses cameras to track fireballs as they shoot across the Australian desert night sky, aiding in the discovery and retrieval of newly fallen meteorites.





To keep pace with rapid data growth, which is expected to grow by 15PBs annually to support the SKA precursor projects alone, Pawsey needed a massively scalable yet highly reliable storage platform. DDN integrated storage with various features, including IBM’s Spectrum Scale parallel file system, tiering choices, replication, data protection and data management to support various front-end data access services that required high-speed storage connections over Ethernet. Additionally, DDN’s leadership role in establishing an IBM Spectrum Scale user group in Western Australia has proven instrumental in engaging the broader scientific and technical community in benefiting from file system advancements for academic, research and industrial applications.





With DDN underpinning its research projects, Pawsey continues to push research boundaries. Pawsey recently made headlines for supporting a research team in surveying the entire Southern sky as part of the Galactic and Extragalactic All-Sky Murchison Widefield Array survey (GLEAM). GLEAM Researchers have stored and processed more than 600 TBs of radio astronomy data to produce the world’s first radio-color panoramic view of the universe and have cataloged more than 300,000 radio galaxies from the extensive sky survey.





For the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, the future holds the promise of additional scientific breakthroughs and constant spikes in HPC and storage needs, which DDN is able to meet. In terms of computing power and storage requirements, the SKA project alone is predicted to surpass the world’s most demanding research to date, including the Large Hadron Collider.


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