September 16, 2014

NCSA Employs Active Archive to Store Blue Waters Supercomputer Nearline Data

Active Archive File System Exceeds Read/Write Rates of 58GB/s and Can Scale to 380PB Capacity

BOULDER, Colo.—September 16, 2014—The Active Archive Alliance announced today that the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) has employed an active archive to store nearline data. The NCSA’s active archive provides 100 percent of the nearline storage for the Blue Waters supercomputer, which is one of the world’s largest active file repositories stored on high capacity, highly reliable enterprise tape media. The active archive is expected to scale to a capacity of 380PB, which is the equivalent of 5,054 years of HD-TV video.

NCSA’s active archive relies on Spectra Logic’s T-Finity tape libraries and IBM TS1140 Technology enterprise tape drives with a capacity of 4.0TB native per tape cartridge. The solution enables the Blue Waters project to cost effectively keep all nearline data accessible in an active repository, perform automated data integrity verification for the data store, and deliver high performance read/write rates of 58GB per second.

“Having an active archive is essential for keeping long-term data accessible and cost effective,” said Michelle Butler, senior technical manager at NCSA. “This easy-to-use archive system allows our scientists and engineers to focus efforts on their core research with the assurance that their data is protected and easily accessible.”

The active archive file system boasts 99.99 percent reliability based on uptime and is able to handle significantly more capacity as the amount of data escalates over the coming years. The active archive uses IBM’s HPSS HSM software with DataDirect Networks disk cache and provides transparent file storage for users allowing them to easily retrieve a file without needing to know where it is located.

A full case study of the NCSA Blue Waters active archive solution is available here.

About The Active Archive Alliance

The Active Archive Alliance is a collaborative industry alliance dedicated to promoting active archives for simplified, online access to all archived data.  Launched in early 2010 by founding technology partners Dell, FileTek, Inc., QStar Technologies, SGI and Spectra Logic Corporation, the Active Archive Alliance is a vendor neutral organization open to leading providers of active archive technologies including file systems, active archive applications, cloud storage, and high density tape and disk storage, as well as individuals and end-users. Active Archive Alliance members provide active archive solutions, best practices, and industry testimonials so that organizations can achieve fast, online access to all their data in the most cost effective manner. Active Archive Alliance members include Atempo, Cleversafe, Crossroads Systems, Dell, DataDirect Networks, Fujifilm, GRAU DATA AG, HP, Imation, QStar Technologies, Quantum, Scality, Seven10, SGI, Spectra Logic and XenData. Visit for more information.

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