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ISC: Cray makes Lustre palatable for storage administrators

Cray folds the ornery Lustre into its tiered storage management software

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Supercomputer vendor Cray is trying to make the Lustre file system easier to work with, allowing users to copy material from the file system into a multilayered storage archiving system.

Cray has expanded its Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) hierarchical system management software to include material that resides on Lustre file systems as well.

As data sets for "big data" analysis and scientific computing continue to grow larger, organizations may want to look at distributed file systems as a way to improve throughput.

Lustre is one of the most widely used file systems for high performance computing (HPC) work, where handling terabytes of data is a routine task. Lustre is a distributed file system that allows an organization to write and read data across hundreds storage servers with an aggregated I/O of over a terabyte per second.

Lustre was first developed in 1999 at Carnegie Mellon, and, even though it has found a home on many supercomputing systems, it has not made major inroads into the enterprise market yet, perhaps due to its complexity.

The TAS software should ease some of the hurdles with managing data on Lustre, making it more palatable for smaller enterprises, according to Cray.

With TAS, administrators can automate the archiving of exabytes of data by creating migration policies based on pre-set quotas for each disk.

Administrators can set up a hierarchical storage system, in which the most consulted data can reside on fast solid state disks, and rarely consulted data can be moved to slower, less-expensive, hard drives, or even tapes. Cray has connected TAS to Lustre through the file system's application programming interfaces (APIs).

Many administrators should already be familiar with how TAS works, according to Cray. The interface and functionality resembles SAM (Storage Access Manager), a set of hierarchical storage archiving tools developed by Sun Microsystems for its QFS (Quick File System).

This is not the first Lustre offering from Cray. The company also offers a full storage system built on Lustre, called Cray Sonexion, as well as Cray Cluster Connect, a Lustre storage system for x86 Linux clusters.

Cray announced the update to TAS at the 2014 International Supercomputing Conference, being held this week in Leipzig, Germany.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com



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