Center for Research Computing planning storage upgrades

The Center for Research Computing is planning to acquire and retire equipment during 2022 to best meet the needs of the research community.

The upgrades touch all segments of the CRC ecosystem, including computing, storage, and data management. Funding for these improvements comes from a complement of National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation major instrumentation awards, along with money from the CRC and Pitt IT.

“We want the research community to have a picture of how we respond to their needs in the face of new technology trends in the high-performance computing industry,” said Adam Hobaugh, CRC’s co-director. “We ask ourselves what gaps we have, what technology will be more valuable or less valuable in the future. And we develop metrics to steer us by listening to users.”

The center’s overall data storage capacity will increase by 2 petabytes (1 PB = 1,000 terabytes).  An additional 1 PB will replace existing aging lower-performance storage. These new storage systems will be able to scale up across all parts of Pitt’s research enterprise, providing CRC a flexible path for future expansion and upgrades.    

Among the strategic roadmap projects are expanding research data storage and management. Feedback from users showed gaps in CRC’s storage tiers as well as tools for managing the explosive growth of data.

“Knowledge is power,” said Kim Wong, CRC’s co-director. “Through the new data management tool, we will empower our users with metrics about their data to help them make informed decisions about what to delete, what to archive, what to pin to the operational storage tier because the data is active research, and who to share data with.”  

Storage and data management are pressing issues for the research community, with the balances of cost, performance, capacity and access between local and cloud storage emerging as a complex problem that require enterprise-grade tools. The CRC is investing in tiered storage to enable end-to-end data lifecycle, including the much-requested service for research data backup.

 “A higher level of support allows us to provide a lot of services at the free level,” Hobaugh said. “It’s equitable to the broader community, including users in humanities and social sciences who can do quite a lot with a relatively small computing allocation.”

The center will be releasing details in late summer.

Read more about the upgrades and when they will take place on the CRC website.