CERN

CERN

Spectra Tape SolutionsThe European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, was established in 1954. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 member states. Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles. Their goal is to advance the boundaries of human knowledge by delving into the smallest building blocks of our universe.

One of the great challenges of our experiments is the management and processing of the vast amounts of data generated. Our Spectra TFinity tape systems help us to address this unprecedented multi-petabyte data-processing challenge by ensuring data is preserved and accessible in the long term. This system is anticipated to be able to with­stand the data production rates foreseen for the next LHC restart (Run 3) and beyond.

— Vladimír Bahyl, Senior Data Storage Engineer, CERN

The Challenge

CERN operates the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC experiments produce more than 90 petabytes of data per year, and an additional 30 petabytes of data are produced per year for data from other (non-LHC) experiments at CERN. Data formats and the tools to access them change constantly, and constant effort is re­quired to tackle the issue. Archiving the vast quantities of data is an essential function at CERN. Magnetic tapes are used as the main long-term storage medium and data from the archive is continuously migrated to newer technology, higher density tapes.

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The Solution

To get ready for Run 3 and the vast amounts of data expected to be produced by the detectors in the LHC experiments and elsewhere in the accelerator complex, CERN installed two fourteen-frame Spectra TFinity ExaScale Tape Libraries in the CERN Data Centre. Their TFinity library is leveraging the open format LTO (Linear Tape-Open) tape technology, has 15,000 physical cartridge slots and can accommodate 48 tape drives in total. Each TFinity system can store up to 540PB of data in its current configuration using LTO9 tapes. The TFinity ExaScale contains dual High Performance Transporters (HPTs) – two robotic pickers optimized for performance and throughput. Furthermore, it offers data encryption and a suite of features that allow end users to actively check data, ensuring tapes are usable and verifying the integrity of data written.

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Environment Snapshot

  • Two fourteen-frame Spectra® TFinity® ExaScale Tape Libraries
  • LTO-8 and LTO-9 full-height tape drives
  • BlueScale® Software Standard Encryption
  • CERN Tape Archive (CTA) data management software
  • IBM Spectrum Protect backup software
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CERN Deploys a Spectra TFinity ExaScale Tape Library for Massive Data Storage

Spectra Logic is delighted to share the time-lapse video of the installation of the Spectra® TFinity® ExaScale Tape Library in the CERN Data Centre. Magnetic tapes are used as the main long-term data storage medium at CERN. The tapes are stored in tape libraries, where they are retrieved by robotic arms. Their TFinity library is leveraging the open format LTO (Linear Tape-Open) tape technology, has 15,000 physical cartridge slots and can accommodate 48 tape drives in total.

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