Hutchison/MRC Research Centre

Hutchison/MRC Research Centre at the University of Cambridge reduces storage infrastructure costs by up to 60%

Spectra BlackPearl and Spectra Stack Tape Library


The Hutchison/MRC Research Centre at the University of Cambridge is a cancer research facility. Built in 2001, it is now the leading site for basic and translational cancer research in Cambridge. Located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre houses active clinicians as well as basic scientists, enabling the rapid translation of discoveries made at the research bench into clinically viable applica­tions at the patient’s bedside.

Addressing the needs of customers with reliable data storage lies at the heart of the Spectra and Arcitecta relationship. The joint solution enables customers to better manage their data and metadata by optimizing multiple storage targets, retrieving data efficiently and tracking content and resources.

— Matt Starr, Chief Technology Officer, Spectra Logic

The Challenge

The Hutchison/MRC Research Centre had developed a complex set of needs. This would include: run applications whose databases are accessing files mul­tiple times per second, potentially opening and closing those files every time; be able to securely share research data with collaborators; and limit access to particular pieces of data in particular locations within the folder hierarchies. Data storage was reaching its limits, and the equipment was reaching its end of life, requiring additional storage to be purchased on an ad-hoc basis to meet the growing demand. As the volume of data continued to expand, and the storage environment continued to expand, users would need the ability to easily and precisely search and access content on tape to continue to extract its value into the future.

The Solution

Arcitecta®, in partnership with Spectra Logic, proposed a new tiered data management system using its Mediaflux® platform, backed by Spectra Logic’s BlackPearl Hybrid Storage Platform. Simultaneously, the scalable storage of BlackPearl, together with Mediaflux, unlocked the most efficient storage targets including online disk, nearline disk, deep storage tape, and even public cloud. Mediaflux and BlackPearl have provided the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre with a storage capacity up to 60% less expensive by leveraging Mediaflux’s scalability and agility across distributed storage resources while keeping data readily available to researchers. To the user, data is easier to find and data-intensive workflows are smarter and more flexible, which has significantly reduced the time researchers and administrators spend wrangling their data.

Environment Snapshot

  • Two Spectra® Stack Tape Libraries with LTO-8 Half-Height tape drives
  • BlackPearl Hybrid Storage Platform
  • Arcitecta Mediaflux platform

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