25 November 2006

Marshall's IT Plan for Janelia Farm -- Bio IT World

Might be useful to think about in terms of future high-performance computing purchases. See extracted snippets below.

http://www.bio-itworld.com/issues/2006/oct/janelia-farm/
Oct. 2006 
Marshall's IT Plan for Janelia Farm
By  Kevin Davies
Oct. 16, 2006 |  Driving north from Washington Dulles Airport towards the Potomac River, it's easy to miss Janelia Farm. The only road sign faces the opposite direction, belatedly guiding lost taxi drivers retracing their route in search of the campus. Outside a makeshift hut in the middle of a construction site, the security guard waves a visitor's taxi down a long, winding dirt road appropriately named Helix Drive. Around a corner, however, the scene changes dramatically.....
The data center is completely fiber and boasts a multi 10-Gb network. "That's a constant question," says Peterson. "Am I going to get the data to my desktop fast? If I can't, then I'm going to start having people buying their own supercomputers and sliding it under their desk. I don't want that - it's not cost effective, and you can't manage it." He adds: "We're going to have very high-resolution graphics, and people are going to see it very fast. Just one set of microscopes will be generating 500 GB data/day. 24x7x365."....
With some 1,200 64-bit Intel Xeon processors in all, cooling was a major concern. Peterson explains: "We ended up going with Dell and Xeons, which are hot, but we did a calculation: given the price we got with them and given the increased power requirements, it still came in price effective. Having said that, we're very interested in the new generation of Intels and obviously AMD." ...
Everything in the data center is designed to be ripped out and replaced if needed. "The idea is to design infrastructure that is cost effective and easy to replace. We try to be open source - everything is Linux-based, low stress. It helps hugely with the maintenance."....
Peterson selected three tiers and 150 TB of spinning disk storage from EMC. "We started small... seriously!" Peterson smiles. Tier 1 is 30 TB of SAN. Tier 2 is 70 TB of NAS. Tier 3 - the archive - consists of more NAS on disk plus tape. Peterson wants to expand tier 3. "We have capability of over 1 PB of tape," says Peterson. "I can grow to multi petabytes without adding another cabinet." He opens one of a long row of EMC cabinets to show rows of vacant racks....







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