Next year's model

Editorial Type: Case Study Date: 2021-02-01 Views: 200 Tags: Storage, HPC, AI, Collaboration, Research, Education, Panasas, ActiveStor PDF Version:
Prestigious French engineering school MINES ParisTech University says that ActiveStor's "unique combination of high performance, easy scalability and simple administration" yields 4-5 times higher bandwidth, increasing productivity

Researchers at MINES ParisTech, one of France's most prestigious engineering schools, have implemented Panasas ActiveStor high-performance computing (HPC) data storage to support the rapidly growing research efforts at the university's Materials Research Center.

MINES ParisTech, which conducts €30 million in annual research contracts, needed to expand its HPC data storage capacity to take on an increasing load of cutting edge research to drive further discoveries. It also needed to create a more positive user experience for both the 70 MINES ParisTech researchers who conduct HPC research at its Materials Research Center and the 130 users of the system's file-sharing applications.

"We chose ActiveStor for its unique combination of high performance, easy scalability, and simple administration," said Gregory Sainte-Luce, IT manager at the Materials Research Center and a member of the IT board at MINES ParisTech. "With Panasas ActiveStor, researchers save time since they no longer have to move or copy data files before they can process them. They gain productivity since there are no HPC bottlenecks to access the storage system. As a result, bandwidth is four to five times higher than before, and file-sharing is more convenient, thanks to shorter response times and higher throughput."

The Materials Research Center, the site of the ActiveStor deployment, conducts 4D statistical studies that assess mechanical stress occurring over time. The 4D testing process automatically creates a digital twin of the materials sample, allowing analysts to simulate performance and validate the behaviour models used by industrial partners. The Center's BIGMECA initiative uses techniques based on artificial intelligence that analyse massive data sets to generate forecasts of a part's lifespan, according to its geometry and characteristics, with a methodology that combines experimentation, simulation and statistical learning.

"Analysis of extremely rich 4D data sets can take several months or even a year, and we are in the process of automating this analysis with our BIGMECA initiative," explained Henry Proudhon, a researcher at the Materials Research Center. "We typically process 1 TB of data for each day of the experiment, with 15 to 20 days of experiments per year. An average study could require 100 HPC runs for six hours per day."


"Scalability is one of the key advantages of our Panasas solution. It's virtually effortless for us to scale the technology to meet demand. When researchers can access their scientific data faster, achieve higher job throughput, and perform more large computations, they can complete more jobs. Their efficiency helps us sell more contracts to our partners and grow our business."
The ActiveStor data storage appliance is a consistently fast, total-performance HPC storage solution that uses the PanFS parallel file system with Dynamic Data Acceleration technology to automatically adapt to the changing and evolving small file and mixed workloads that dominate today's HPC and AI landscape - all at the lowest total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) and without the need for tuning or manual intervention.

"Materials research is fundamental to the discovery and development of new materials that lead to the advancement of technologies and products across a multitude of industries," said Jim Donovan, chief marketing officer at Panasas. "The research conducted at MINES ParisTech drives amazing discoveries and we are honoured to support these critical efforts with a reliable, high-performance storage solution that's ready to adapt to changing workload, capacity, and user requirements at a moment's notice."

"Panasas handles large volumes that can be expanded or reduced quickly, as needed," adds Gregory Sainte-Luce. "We currently run at 80% of capacity and our load level is 17% to 20%, according to Panasas monitoring. Data access is five times faster for HPC storage, and we've even seen better performance and convenience for users who are not using HPC. We have virtually no more duplicated data. ActiveStor handles the entire workload of the research lab without any performance issues."

FLEXIBILITY TO SUPPORT GROWTH
ActiveStor offers MINES ParisTech the scalability needed to meet its immediate and future storage requirements. Panasas handles the current workload of the entire research group, and it can easily accommodate changing needs, such as expanding or reducing hard and soft volume quotas. "Scalability is one of the key advantages of our Panasas solution," says Sainte-Luce. "It's virtually effortless for us to scale the technology to meet demand."

ActiveStor also helps researchers accomplish more. "When researchers can access their scientific data faster, achieve higher job throughput, and perform more large computations, they can complete more jobs," says Sainte-Luce. "Their efficiency helps us sell more contracts to our partners and grow our business. We're very pleased to have Panasas as our partner."

More info:www.panasas.com