Los Alamos has responsibility for ensuring the safety of the US nuclear arsenal. International test ban treaties have replaced physical device tests with complex computer simulations, which can run for many months and each exploration generates many petabytes of data. As evaluating different scenarios can require restarting a simulation from a specific checkpoint several months back into the simulation, static tape archives no longer met the requirements, so the organization decided to build an active, disk-based archive using the Scality RING storage software. The archive is designed to scale to 100’s of PBs.
LANL required a software-defined storage strategy that could ensure cost-effective, intelligent data protection using advanced erasure coding, provide unified file, object storage, be easy to deploy and manage at scale, and employ commodity, consumer-grade disk as the primary storage medium. As the flexibility in hardware selection was successfully demonstrated during the proof of concept stage of the project, LANL decided on the Scality RING software acquisition, prior to selecting the eventual hardware.
Los Alamos plans to use the Scality RING for active archive and distributed computing use cases. The RING will be used as a “home” like 2nd tier behind GPFS as well as a checkpoint system and a storage pool for post-treatment of simulation results. One of the distinguishing factors between active archive and distributed computing is a question of priorities, if the main objective is archiving data or doing computation and analysis of simulation, sensor, or design data.