Computer Network Info. Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Robust IBM XIV storage solution empowers and safeguards China’s inroads in science

Published on 22-Jun-2011

Validated on 05 Dec 2012

"We carefully tested and compared several high-end storage arrays from different vendors, and our tests showed that the IBM XIV Storage System had the best architecture, scalability and security performance." - Li Jian Hui, Director of the Computer Network Information Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Customer:
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Industry:
Government

Deployment country:
China

Solution:
IT/infrastructure, Business Resiliency, Cloud Computing, Enabling Business Flexibility, High Availability , Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT

Overview

Founded in 1949, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the chief scientific institution of the State Council of China, and serves as a national hub for scientific innovation. A well-known and respected entity, the Academy is a driving force in the ongoing reform of China’s national scientific and technological systems. Based in Beijing, with 1,000 field stations across the country, it has a workforce of more than 50,000 individuals.

Business need:
With data growth rates exceeding the CAS’ ability to manage critical information, the Academy required a solution that would support present and future storage requirements with performance and reliability while also lowering costs.

Solution:
With the help of IBM, the CAS created a cloud storage solution featuring the IBM® XIV® Storage System, IBM Scale Out File Services, IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager, IBM Power Systems™ servers and IBM System x® servers.

Benefits:
High storage availability and performance; powerful scalability; easy management, for optimal price-performance ratio; improved productivity for scientists; ability to launch new services rapidly.

Case Study

Founded in 1949, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the chief scientific institution of the State Council of China, and serves as a national hub for scientific innovation. A well-known and respected entity, the Academy is a driving force in the ongoing reform of China’s national scientific and technological systems. Based in Beijing, with 1,000 field stations across the country, it has a workforce of more than 50,000 individuals.

The CAS has experienced enormous growth in its data volumes in recent years, due in part to its research teams’ increasing use of advanced technology tools, fueling sophisticated research and data collection. Its scientists also needed quick access to the stored data for analysis. The institution’s existing storage architecture lacked the performance and reliability to meet those needs, and was unable to scale sufficiently to cope with current and projected future data growth.

To address the challenge, the Academy’s Computer Network Information Center decided to create a cloud storage architecture of two levels—disk storage and tape archiving—with intelligent, policy-based data migration for moving older, lower-value data to tape.

“The safe-guarding of highly important research data was our main priority—we wanted to ensure that the new storage architecture would be extremely robust and reliable,” says Li Jian Hui, Director of Scientific Data Center of the Computer Network Information Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “We needed to enable Academy scientists to access and share research data more effectively—we planned to do this using IP-based file services that would support multiple file service nodes sharing the same name space.”

Discovering the optimal solution

After reviewing and testing other options, the CAS chose to build its new storage cloud around the IBM XIV® Storage System. The Academy repurposed its existing mid-range storage devices to serve as a second tier under the XIV system, and installed an IBM System Storage® TS3500 Tape Library for data backup and offline archive. To enable global name space and simultaneous parallel file access from multiple nodes, the CAS implemented IBM Scale Out File Services (SOFS), based on IBM General Parallel File System™ (GPFS™). The CAS is the first organization in China to use the XIV system with IBM SOFS. IBM TivoliStorage Manager enables policy-based storage management, allowing the CAS to move data that is used less frequently from the high-speed XIV system to the lower disk tier and, ultimately, to the tape archive.

“We carefully tested and compared several high-end storage arrays from different vendors, and our tests showed that the IBM XIV Storage System had the best architecture, scalability and security performance,” said Li. “We were also confident that the XIV system would deliver the high I/O we needed. Thirdly - and this was the most attractive feature—we felt that the user-friendly management interface on the XIV system would provide low total cost of ownership.”

The IBM SOFS environment is hosted on five IBM Power Systems servers running IBM AIX® and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and also on four IBM System x3650 M2 servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This environment provides high-speed simultaneous access to files, regardless of the client operating system, and virtually unlimited scalability. IBM Global Technology Services assisted the CAS in designing and deploying the new cloud storage solution.

Smooth integration

With the IBM XIV Storage System as the top tier in its storage cloud, the CAS has achieved its objectives of extremely high performance and availability for storage at low management cost. Equally, the advanced grid architecture of the XIV system is a perfect fit with IBM SOFS, supporting high-speed parallel access from multiple nodes.

“One of the major challenges we faced was how to integrate all the different functions we required into just one storage environment,” said Li. “The combination of IBM Scale Out File Services and the IBM XIV Storage System helped us create a cloud solution that is both powerful and easy to manage. We know that many high-end disk arrays are difficult to configure and manage—that's certainly not the case with the XIV system.”

Including the tape library, the storage capacity of the IBM storage cloud at the CAS is 6 PB (6,000 TB), giving the Academy's scientists ample space to store their data and results. For newly created information and data that is actively required for analysis, the CAS benefits from the extremely high I/O performance and availability of the IBM XIV Storage System. When data is no longer required for high-speed analysis, it is moved to the lower tier of disk storage and, eventually, archived to tape for cost-effective long-term storage.

Delighted with the performance and cost-effectiveness of the solution, the Academy has invested in a second XIV system to meet an unrelated storage requirement outside the cloud.

High performance and manageability

The CAS currently uses the XIV system to store databases that support large numbers of concurrent users, as well as the most critical part of its external storage environment: the source data service.

“Overall, I am personally satisfied with the IBM XIV system and feel that it has met our professional requirements,” Li comments. “I’m particularly satisfied with its reliable performance. Our IT technicians have found the system to be highly manageable—that the XIV system allows them to construct and support different services more freely and smoothly. What’s more, our management costs have decreased now that we can configure and manage the system in line with our requirements.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Power Systems, Power Systems running AIX Enterprise Edition, Power Systems running Linux - Red Hat, Storage, System Networking: SAN80B-4, Storage: TS3500 Tape Library, Storage: XIV, System x, System x: System x running Linux - Red Hat, System x: System x3650 M2

Software:
General Parallel File System, AIX, PowerVM, Tivoli Storage Manager

Operating system:
AIX, Linux

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America June 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, AIX, GPFS, Power Systems, System Storage, System x, Tivoli and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. The information in this document is provided “as-is” without any warranty, either expressed or implied.

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