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HPC User Site Census: Storage

by Christopher G. Willard, Ph.D., Addison Snell,Laura Segervall, Michael Feldman
for Intersect360 Research
January 2014

This report, part of our Site Census research, provides an examination of the storage characteristics and capacities found in a sample of HPC user sites. Intersect360 Research surveyed a broad range of users about their current computer system installations, storage systems, networks, middleware, and supporting software. The resulting data is presented in a series of reports throughout the year, each describing different aspects of the HPC end-user landscape. This report examines storage usage within the HPC user community and explores how this usage varies based on categories such as storage capacity, site configuration, supplier, and network.
 
Key findings of the survey include the following:
  • Approximately 32% of the total available storage at respondents’ sites resides on compute servers. Storage available to each node (referred to as node-level storage) represents 12% of the capacity and storage available to the server (referred to as system-level storage) accounts for 20% of the total available storage. The remaining 68% of storage is found at the site level, generally on Network-Attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Network (SAN) systems. On average, 598TB of storage resides at the site level on a storage system.
  • SSDs are still in their early stages of adoption for HPC. Very few of the systems with SSDs reported 100% usage, suggesting most SSDs are being used as an additional tier between memory and traditional hard disks in order to improve storage-to-memory latencies. For systems last modified in 2012+, about 14% stated they used SSDs in at least some of their nodes. 
  • About 82% of the 429 sites have at least one site-level storage system installed. No vendor dominates the storage system market for HPC sites. IBM has the largest share with 15.1% of survey responses but is closely followed by DataDirect Networks with 13.9%.
  • Data revealed that 10 Gigabit Ethernet is used at 34% of the sites while InfiniBand is used at 30% of the sites for site-level storage system networks.
  • Parallel file system adoption continues to progress slowly, with most adoption taking place in academic or government research. Most storage management software (36%) in use by the surveyed sites was provided by the storage system vendor. Lustre and GPFS were the next most frequently mentioned storage management software with 19% and 17% of the systems, respectively. 
 
COMPANIES MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT
 
Companies mentioned in this report include:
 
Ace Computer
Advanced HPC
AMAX
Amazon Web Services
Apple
Atipa
Bull
Celerra
ClusterVision
Cray
DataDirect Networks
Dell
D-Link
EMC
Gigaspaces
Hitachi Data Systems
HP
IBM
Infortrend
IOmega
Microway
NetApp
NexSAN
Open E
Oracle
Panasas
Penguin
Pillar
Promise
Qualstar
Quantum
R Associates
Rackspace
Scalable Informatics
Seagate
SGI
SpectraLogic
Supermicro
Transtec
Western Digital
Xyratex
 

TECHNOLOGIES COVERED IN THIS REPORT

  • HPC system elements
  • Systems, clusters
  • HPC clusters
  • SMPs
  • MPP systems
  • Server technologies
  • Blades
    • Storage elements
  • Storage systems
  • Network-attached storage (NAS)
  • Storage area networks (SAN)
  • Direct-attached storage (DAS)
  • Local (on-node) disk
  • Archives
  • Cloud storage
  • Storage components
  • Solid-state disks (SSDs), flash drives
  • Tape libraries
  • File systems
  • Lustre
  • GPFS
  • Other file systems
  • Storage software
  • Interconnect elements
    • System interconnects
    • Storage interconnects
    • LAN interconnects
    • Interconnect standards
      • Ethernet
      • InfiniBand
      • Fibre Channel
      • Other interconnect standards


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