Center for Research Computing Storage Upgrade Planning | University times

The Center for Research Computing plans to acquire and retire equipment by 2022 to best meet the needs of the research community.

The upgrades affect all segments of the CRC ecosystem, including computing, storage and data management. Funding for these improvements will come from a complement of key instrumentation awards from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, along with funding from the CRC and Pitt IT.

“We want the research community to have a sense of how we are responding to their needs in the face of emerging technology trends in the high-performance computing industry,” said Adam Hobaugh, CRC co-director. “We wonder what gaps we have, what technology will be more or less valuable in the future. And we develop statistics to guide us by listening to users.”

The center’s total data storage capacity will increase by 2 petabytes (1 PB = 1,000 terabytes). An additional 1 PB will replace the existing legacy, underperforming storage. These new storage systems can be scaled across all areas of Pitt’s research enterprise, providing CRC with a flexible path for future expansions and upgrades.

Strategic roadmap projects include expanding research data storage and management. User feedback revealed gaps in CRC’s storage layers, as well as tools for managing the explosive growth of data.

“Knowledge is power,” said Kim Wong, co-director of CRC. “Through the new data management tool, we will enable our users to obtain metrics about their data so that they can make informed decisions about what to delete, what to archive, what to pin to the operational storage layer because the data are actively investigating, and who to share data with.”

Storage and data management are pressing issues for the research community, with the balance of cost, performance, capacity, and access between on-premises and cloud storage becoming a complex issue that requires professional tools. The CRC is investing in tiered storage to enable end-to-end data lifecycle, including the much-requested service for research data backup.

“A higher level of support allows us to offer many services at a free level,” Hobaugh said. “It’s fair to the wider community, including users in the humanities and social sciences who can do quite a lot with a relatively small computer allocation.”

The center will release details in the late summer.

Read more about the upgrades and when they will take place on the CRC website.


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