National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) Drives Major Scientific Discoveries with Powerful, Converged, Site-Wide Storage from DataDirect Networks

DDN’s Converged Infrastructure Helps NERSC Boost Performance, Scalability and Workflow Efficiency while Saving Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Infrastructure Costs

Santa Clara, Calif.— October 29, 2013

News Facts

  • To better address the variety, variability and velocity of Big Data generated by science research, experiments, simulations and analyses, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) has upgraded its “scratch” storage for temporary scientific data to a single site-wide system with four petabytes of storage built on DataDirect Networks (DDN) Storage Fusion Architecture® (SFA) high-performance storage engine.
  • As one of the largest facilities in the world devoted to providing computational resources and expertise for basic scientific research, more than 5,000 scientists work on up to 700 projects encompassing a wide range of disciplines, including climate modeling, solar energy, fusion science, astrophysics, bioinformatics and more.
  • With scientific data growing rapidly, the organization recognizes the importance of having centralized “scratch” storage architecture. By selecting a unified scratch file system, NERSC was able to build to the precise levels of performance and capacity required while optimizing the cost of configuration at every step. This continues NERSC’s strategy to move away from distributed storage “islands” in favor of “global” storage.
  • Furthermore, by embedding file systems in the storage controller, DDN’s converged infrastructure approach enabled further optimization by removing latency and a significant number of network connections and servers. As a result, NERSC was able to meet performance and capacity requirements at 30 percent lower cost of storage than implementing local storage and file systems for each compute platform. Moreover, the facility saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure costs by eliminating the need for additional servers, cabling, network switches and adapters.
  • NERSC, along with other leading research facilities in the U.S., including the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is a pioneer in adopting site-wide file systems to enable cost savings, faster application burst performance, workflow efficiencies and a much simpler approach to deploying HPC resources.

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DDN Delivers Optimal Levels of Capacity & Throughput for Unparalleled Performance

  • With DDN storage, NERSC now can ensure that both high-bandwidth and highly transactional applications perform at optimum levels as the total bandwidth of any one storage system is now the aggregate performance of all of the site-wide storage deployed.
  • DDN’s in-storage processing capabilities, which embed the file system inside the controller, enable NERSC to achieve maximum performance for its compute investments while minimizing storage investment costs.
  • NERSC has also been able to achieve industry-leading performance of 80 GBps with the fewest number of systems, which also has resulted in reduced administrative overhead and lower data center costs.
  • Additionally, the ability to write temporary data to a central repository for further analysis has enabled NERSC to reduce its local “scratch” storage costs by more than 50 percent.

Supporting Quotes

Jason Hick, Group Leader, Storage Systems, NERSC:

  • “DataDirect Networks was early in the game to revolutionize consolidating file system servers with centralized storage, they have an advanced storage architecture.”
  • “It was exciting to hear how DDN provides both virtualized server and high-availability storage resources in a consolidated platform. It was clear DDN is a technology leader that continues to push the envelope on the latest technologies of the day.”
  • “It was an awesome experience to work with DDN’s engineers and we are elated with the outcome. Both organizations are better for it as together we have deployed the right model and the right technology to support our user’s needs.”

Supporting Resources

About DataDirect Networks

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is the world leader in massively scalable storage. Our data storage and processing solutions and professional services enable content-rich and high growth IT environments to achieve the highest levels of systems scalability, efficiency and simplicity. DDN enables enterprises to extract value and deliver business results from their information. Our customers include the world's leading online content and social networking providers, high performance cloud and grid computing, life sciences, media production, and security and intelligence organizations. Deployed in thousands of mission critical environments worldwide, DDN's solutions have been designed, engineered and proven in the world's most scalable data centers to ensure competitive business advantage for today's information powered enterprise. For more information, go to or call 1-800-837-2298.

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