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German climate researchers prepare for rising seas of data

Peter Sayer | May 11, 2015
It's nice to have the latest kit, but a supercomputer upgrade is about to bring the German Climate Computing Center, DKRZ, a big problem: a shortage of space.

The first phase of that system, holding 20 PB, is ready, and when the second one is complete, "We will see at least 15 Gbps of sustained performance, reading and writing concurrently," said Garternicht. Burst speeds could reach 18 Gbps.

IBM won the five-year contract to build and service the new system after having already worked on DKRZ's first HPSS installation for five years. The center is clearly happy with the company's work, but the system could still do with some improvements, Garternicht said.

"We want IBM to keep on providing the interfaces that our users are used to," he said. The venerable FTP (file transfer protocol) is a given for transferring such large datasets between institutions, "But we also want more modern interfaces like S3 or Swift," he said.

S3 is Amazon Web Services' cloud-based Simple Storage Service, while Swift is the distributed object store used in the OpenStack cloud operating system.

The outlook for our future climate, it would seem, is cloudy.

 

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