Behind the Curtain: Why Spectra Archives the UK’s Largest Supercomputer

Reading time for this article .

The age of unlimited data is certainly upon us.  Data stores in the Petabyte range are becoming common and Exabyte configurations are not unheard of.  Consequently, the need to store, manage, protect, retrieve and use data at these scales quickly, efficiently and reliably has never been greater.

Storage vendors are being pressed to meet these needs across a variety of applications and use cases.  Fortunately for data users, Spectra Logic is answering the call and doing so with Enterprise Class libraries in a smaller footprint.  The United Kingdom’s fastest super computer, a Cray XC30 system was chosen for the Advanced Research Computing High End Resource (ARCHER) project, conducting 1,367 Tera-FLOPs, at the University of Edinburgh’s Parallel Computing Centre is an example in which Spectra’s T380 Enterprise Library was a perfect fit. If you missed it, see the press release issued earlier this week.

The performance and capacity requirements of a supercomputer application such as ARCHER require storage solutions to be easy to manage, scalable, economical and highly reliable.  If they don’t provide those qualities, they can divert valuable resources and attention from the truly important tasks of high quality research like that enabled by ARCHER.

Spectra’s focus on delivering tape solutions that meet these requirements is long-standing.  The T380  Enterprise Library’s BlueScale management interface makes administrative tasks seamless and simple while providing the data integrity, and hardware and media health checking services required to ensure long-term reliability of the data generated by ARCHER.   In addition, the T380’s high density, TeraPack architecture gives the ARCHER team unlimited growth potential serving them well into the future.  These enterprise attributes, packaged in a smaller library form factor, were ideal for a high performance user like ARCHER.

Capacity, speed, manageability, efficiency and economics are driving factors for supercomputing environments like ARCHER that create new knowledge and further all manner of valuable research projects.  Storage solutions supporting these efforts should ensure that users achieve the objectives they set.  The Spectra Logic T380 Enterprise Library was weighed, measured and found ideal for supporting the University of Edinburgh’s Parallel Computing Centre and the ARCHER project’s goals.