Science and Technology Facilities Council

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to process and preserve more than 60 PB of scientific research data with Spectra

Spectra TFinity Exascale Tape Library


A part of U.K. Research and Innovation (UKRI), STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organization, which aims to deliver economic, societal, scientific and interna­tional benefits to the U.K., and more broadly to the world. STFC’s two main campuses are at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire and the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire – each of which offers technological expertise that underpins and ties together diverse research fields.

Our new Spectra tape library will allow the massive volumes of environmental data we collect to be made available to environmental scientists and support their research for many years to come.

— Professor Bryan Lawrence, JASMIN principal investigator, University of Reading

The Challenge

STFC’s Scientific Computing Department (SCD) supports some of U.K.’s most advanced scientific facilities to make vital discoveries and deliver progress. The department is home to STFC’s Scientific Data Centre, which hosts the JASMIN facility and the IRIS infrastructure. The organization needed to increase its capacity by at least 60 petabytes, with the potential to expand to meet future demands. STFC required a system that could run continuously, 24 hours per day, and handle requests from multiple applications con­currently.

The Solution

Installed within STFC’s Scientific Data Centre at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the two nine-frame Spectra® TFinity® Tape Libraries will provide for the predicted data growth from existing groups over the next decade, and act as an active archive for JASMIN users and the IRIS science communities. Should SCD need to employ multiple HSM solutions concurrently, the TFinity tape library can handle simultaneous requests either by using multiple partitions in the library, or by having multiple robotic interface modules (RIMs) active in the same partition. Redundancies like multiple tape access robots, power supplies, control paths and power distribution units mitigate failure and ensure the system will be able to run continuously, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.


See a Spectra TFinity Tape Library Built Before Your Eyes

TFinity Installation at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

View this 60-second time-lapse video of a 7-frame TFinity being installed at RAL.

Second TFinity Installation at RAL

Time-Lapse Build of second Spectra TFinity at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Environment Snapshot

  • Nine-frame Spectra TFinity Exascale Tape Library with 17 LTO-8 tape drives and 30 IBM® TS1160 tape drives
  • Nine-frame Spectra TFinity Exascale Tape Library with 22 IBM® TS1160 tape drives
  • Spectra Certified Media
  • BlueScale® Vision Camera
  • Two High Performance Transporters (HPT)
  • CASTOR Hierarchical Storage Management System

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