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Masterminding State-Wide Data Storage

Press Release No. 61/2010
29 March 2010
Universit├Ąt Heidelberg: Computing Centre crucially involved in master plan

Heidelberg University’s Computing Centre (URZ) is crucially involved in devising a master plan for state-wide data storage serving the scientific communities in Baden-Württemberg. The state government has entrusted the URZ and colleagues at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) with the pioneering brainwork required to put the new system in place, says Prof. Michael Hebgen, head of URZ. It is part of a pilot project for a new large-scale data facility to be established as a distributed storage system at university locations in Heidelberg, Mannheim and Karlsruhe.

The Large-Scale Data Facility (LSDF) will have a total handling capacity of almost 12 petabytes and is funded largely by resources from the federal government and the state of Baden-Württemberg. The initial phase of the scheme, which is planned to take five years in all, has already begun. Heidelberg University has shouldered the responsibility for setting up the IT infrastructure required. The LSDF project will provide the BioQuant research centre at the university with a data-storage capacity of five petabytes for its work in the life sciences. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is to receive the same storage volume. According to Prof. Hebgen, the two locations are to be connected by a cable with a transmission capacity of 100 gigabits per second.

“Working with a storage volume of several petabytes poses complex challenges that go far beyond the mere archiving of data,” Prof. Hebgen explains. “Those files have to be categorised, they have to be searchable on certain criteria and transmissible through the network in a short space of time. We also need mechanisms for graded archiving.” The knowledge acquired in the use and management of a large-scale data facility will then be folded into the master plan for the state-wide storage system.

In the framework of the LSDF project, both the URZ and the Mannheim University Computing Centre (RUM) will be linked up to the large-scale facilities at BioQuant and KIT. At the same time, both computer centres, whose storage environments are already linked, will be given an extra 150 terabytes to meet the requirements of scientists and students. To enable URZ and RUM to run the storage systems in Heidelberg and Mannheim jointly and thus get the most out of them, the two computer centres will be deploying high-efficiency visualisation software. Says Michael Hebgen: “That will enable our users to work on large sets of data without having to worry about where they are stored. Even distributed storage is possible.”

The contract partner in the realisation of the Large-Scale Data Facility is the SVA company, a business partner of IBM. Scientific cooperation with IBM is strived for.

Prof. Michael Hebgen
University Computing Centre
phone: +49 6221 544501

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