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BlueArc Tapped For Supercomputing Cluster

Network attached storage (NAS) systems maker BlueArc Corp. said Monday that it will install one of its 115 terabyte storage systems at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as part of an estimated $13 million Linux-based clustering project nicknamed Lustre.

LLNL's Multi-Programmatic and Institutional Computing Capability Resource (MCR) cluster project is expected to help the U.S. Department of Energy remove bottlenecks that limit performance in its network storage systems. The technology will be put to use in its weapons development projects, but could potentially be used in the enterprise sector as well.

San Jose, Calif.-based BlueArc said it will use its SiliconServer architecture through its Si7500 Storage Systems as the Object Storage Target (OST) for the Lustre project.

BlueArc estimates the total budget to reach between $12 million and $13 million for the entire project, which is scheduled to be built by the end of September

"OST technology on the BlueArc Si7500 will play a key role in the MCR Lustre file system. It represents a watershed change in the way we build clusters, and provides us with an opportunity to extend the Lustre file system beyond the boundary of the cluster," said Mark Seager, assistant department head for Terascale Systems at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "We believe that BlueArc will be a worthy partner in this storage activity. Not only has system performance stood up to the test in previous cluster builds, but BlueArc's field services organization surpassed our expectations."

The name Lustre is an association of Linux and Clusters. The novel storage and file system architecture and implementation does not follow the block device paradigm.

Once built, this high-performance Linux computing cluster will contain in excess of 700 Nodes with two Intel Pentium 4 processors per node and a peak performance exceeding 6.7 teraFLOP/s.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Cluster File Systems, Inc. helped develop Lustre's file and storage architecture. The company said its system abandons traditional block-based storage protocols, instead using an intelligent object-based approach and protocol.

This allows the Lustre Open Source file system for Linux clusters to scale to over tens of thousands of compute servers accessing petabytes of storage at rates of hundreds of gigabytes per second.

Because of the tremendous raw throughput required for a project of this scale, BlueArc's hardware-based SiliconServer Architecture with OST is a natural technology match to the performance and scalability requirements of this demanding I/O environment.

"This project is a major validation of the scalability, performance and TCO advantages of our SiliconServer Architecture. This large-scale deployment also validates our technology and vision to sustain our leadership position in high-performance enterprise NAS," said BlueArc chairman and CEO Gianluca Rattazzi.