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October 2, 2018updated 12 Jul 2022 11:22am

ECMWF Opens Procurement for Supercomputer Data Storage

Meteorological agency is seeking Automated Tape Libraries, tape drives and media to replace its existing Oracle SL8500 libraries and associated T10000 tape drives

By CBR Staff Writer

A little-know, supercomputer-powered meteorological research institute, the Reading, UK-based “European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts” (ECMWF) is seeking a partner to help it shift the huge volumes of data it gathers daily to new magnetic tape storage units ahead of a move to new facilities in Bologna.

ECMWF processes data from 90 satellite data products and analyses 40 million observations daily. It uses a pair of Cray supercomputers to conduct global numerical weather forecasts; atmospheric composition monitoring; climate monitoring and more, while also maintaining meteorological data archive.

See also: Met Office Back in the Market for a New Supercomputer

The centre is currently generating and storing 300 terabytes of new data each day; a figure it anticipates will rise to more than a petabyte per day in 2022.

For both reading and writing workloads the current libraries routinely perform 15,000 — 20,000 exchanges per day, ECMWF notes, saying it wants to move to a new tape library environment that supports IBM TS11xx and LTO drive types.

ECMWF Invitation to Tender

An invitation to tender, posted late last week, reveals that the institute (which in 2019 will be moving its supercomputers and data to Bologna, although staff and analysis will remain in the UK) is seeking the Automated Tape Libraries (ATLs), tape drives and media to replace its existing Oracle SL8500 libraries and associated T10000 tape drives ahead of the move; the contract will include maintenance and staff training.

” TS11xx drives will be used for the Centre’s primary data, and LTO drives will be used for new and existing secondary data. As the new Data Centre becomes available, the whole active tape library environment will be physically moved to Bologna”, the centre said, noting that initial Installation will be at the Centre’s Shinfield Park site in early 2019, with further tranches of equipment purchased for installation at ECMWF’s new Data Centre at Tecnopolo di Bologna, Via Stalingrado, Bologna, Italy from 2019 onwards.

The Cray HPCF has two identical Cray XC40 clusters.  Each has 20 cabinets of compute nodes and 13 of storage and weighs more than 50 metric tonnes.

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The bulk of the system consists of compute nodes with two Intel Xeon EP E5-2695 V4 “Broadwell” processors each with 18 cores. Four compute nodes sit on one blade, sixteen blades sit in a chassis and there are three chassis in a frame.

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