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NetApp, Oracle behind CERN research

Zafar Anjum | Oct. 3, 2012
NetApp storage, Oracle Database help CERN scientists unlock the secrets of the universe

Storage and data management solutions provider NetApp is supporting the scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, according to a media statement by the technology company.

The scientists at the European body have been unlocking the secrets of the universe and it involves processing mind-boggling amounts of data from the trillions of proton collisions that occur within four points of CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.

LHC experiments create 600 million collisions per second, which is a raw data rate of 1 million GBps. This huge volume of data must be distributed to physicists to analyse at 140 computing centres in 35 different countries.

It's from this very same data that scientists in July uncovered one of the greatest findings ever in particle physics-a new particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs Boson, a particle that is believed to give all other particles mass. It was a path-breaking finding.

According to NetApp, an agile data infrastructure, such as a NetApp storage foundation, provides CERN with the ability to deliver impact faster through more effective search and data management (Intelligent), achieve non-disruptive operations (Immortal), and scale without limits to meet the demands of ongoing particle research (Infinite).

"A primary goal for CERN is to help expand human understanding of the world we live in," said Tony Cass, Databases Services Group Leader, IT department, CERN. "The information that we are searching for is contained within a sea of data that is equivalent to searching for a needle in 20 million haystacks. To make these searches a success, we require an IT infrastructure that can store and manage staggering amounts of data and give us round-the-clock access to it. Oracle Databases running on top of NetApp storage are a key element of this infrastructure."

Since 2006, CERN has leveraged NetApp technology to help drive innovation and excellence in scientific discovery, the company said in a statement.

In addition to NetApp, CERN leverages Oracle Database in support of the LHC and relies on NetApp to store the data on the Oracle Database, including one with 4.1 trillion rows of data. This operational data amounts to more than 50TB per year and is relied upon by scientists to store the measurements and instrumentation records needed to calibrate the experiments. CERN uses NetApp Flash Cache technology to increase overall performance and reduce the data centre footprint by two times what would have been required to manage similar technical requirements, said the IT company.

 

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