JetStor & StorTrends Support Cutting-Edge Medical Research with Scalable, Cost-Effective Storage


THE ORGANIZATION

The Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) at The University of Texas at Dallas, founded in 2010, studies how aging affects the brain and researches ways to maintain cognitive health for life. Funded by the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other organizations, over 50 CVL researchers and staff members also work to develop methods for the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders. 

THE CHALLENGE 

CVL exemplifies big data in scientific research. Each study requires 150 to 500 functional magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain, all of which must be stored and accessed by researchers. Each scan is 50Gb and their size constantly increases as the resolution improves. Moreover, CVL has expanded over the years from one lab to six, each conducting studies that generate more and more scans. Finally, CVL needs to back up its research scans offsite to ensure the availability of the data. 

“As an image-based, big-data enterprise, CVL constantly needs more storage capacity,” said Michael K., IT manager, CVL. “But being grant funded, our storage must be practical and economical. At the same time, our solutions have to enable researchers to save and retrieve data quickly and without disruption. Moreover, we must always back-up our images because they’re so costly and time-consuming to produce.”

THE SOLUTION 

Five JetStor SAS 716F 16-bay RAID Arrays, one JetStor SAS 742F V2 42-bay RAID Array, one JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array, one JetStor SAS 516J 16-bay RAID Array, one StorTrends 3500i 16-bay Storage Appliance, and three StorTrends 3202j 16-bay JBODs from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION (per cluster)

• Five JetStor SAS 716F 16-bay RAID Arrays

• One JetStor SAS 742F 42-bay RAID Array

• One JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array

• One JetStor SAS 516J 16-bay RAID Array

• One StorTrends 3500i 16-bay Storage Appliance

• Three StorTrends 3202j 16-bay JBODs

• One Cisco Nexus 5548P switch

• Twelve Dell R720 servers

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

CVL anchors its advanced medical research with storage solutions from AC&NC. The organization’s six laboratories store thousands of brain scans on five JetStor SAS 716F RAID arrays as well as a StorTrends 3500i storage appliance, also from AC&NC. For additional scalability, CVL links three StorTrends 3202j JBODs (Just a Bunch of Disks) to the StorTrends storage appliance. The total capacity of the StorTrends solutions is over 300 terabytes.

“When CVL was founded, we examined available storage options and discovered that AC&NC’s arrays are very competitively priced compared to systems from the big name vendors, said Mike K. “Not only do they help us to contain our capital costs, their reliability and ease of use make them economical to operate as well.”

The JetStor RAID solutions provide the performance needed to rapidly save and retrieve huge imaging files and support sophisticated applications, many written in the MatLab and R languages for statistical computation, visualizations, and programming. To further accelerate analyses, the StorTrends 3500i appliance is provisioned with 3.2 terabytes of flash storage for ultra fast computational processing.

In addition to delivering CVL’s primary storage, JetStor systems meet the organization’s backup needs as well. CVL copies its data onto JetStor SAS 742F and JetStor SAS 764 RAID arrays at an offsite facility, ensuring its vital medical research is always available.

CVL further contains ownership costs by using the JetStor RAID Manager browser-based software to manage and monitor the JetStor solutions. “Even from remote locations, we can easily administer our JetStor arrays,” said Mike K. “This level of control and convenience is another reason why AC&NC meets our storage needs so effectively.”

HOW WE DID IT

For its initial lab, CVL deployed a 16-bay JetStor SAS 716F RAID array to provide block-level storage and 8Gb Fibre Channel connectivity. When scans filled up the system’s 22TB capacity, a second JetStor SAS 716F array was installed. The robust solutions feature a fully cableless design for greater reliability, dual power supplies, a 6G SAS disk backplane, and 1600Mb/sec speed.

“The JetStor solutions are extremely easy to deploy,” noted Mike K.  “They’re plug’n play, which adds to their value.”

As CVL added more labs to conduct additional studies, the organization continued to implement solutions from AC&NC. These included three more JetStor 716F chassis, each with 2 and 4 SAS disks, as well as a 16-bay JetStor SAS 516J 16-bay RAID Array that is currently configured for 10TB of capacity. 

As its storage needs increased, CVL acquired a 16-bay StorTrends 3500i storage appliance from AC&NC as well as three 16-bay StorTrends 3202j 16-bay JBODs for additional storage. The hybrid StorTrends 3500i is provisioned with 4 800Gb solid-state drives and 12 2TB SAS spinning disks.

Two JetStor 716F chassis and the StorTrends 3500i connect to a Cisco 5548 switch with 8Gb Fibre Channel and 10G iSCSI ports. The remaining arrays link via 8Gb Fibre Channel or 1Gb iSCSI to Dell R720 servers.

The arrays are configured for RAID 6, which adds a second parity block over RAID 5. As a result, no data is lost even if two disks fail.

CONCLUSION 

AC&NC has proven to Mike K. and his colleagues that its solutions can meet the storage needs of data-intensive enterprises like CVL. JetStor RAID arrays are affordable, especially when compared to competing solutions, and their durability and ease of use reduce operating costs. 

“For scientific and medical research where very large data sets must be preserved safely and economically, JetStor systems are ideal for both primary and backup storage,” concluded Mike K. “They meet our budgets while still offering the speed we require, and they don’t require frequent attention. Importantly, JetStor arrays provide the cost-effective scalability needed to support our ongoing research.” 

ABOUT ADVANCED COMPUTER & NETWORK CORPORATION (AC&NC) 

Advanced Computer & Network Corporation designs, manufactures and markets high-performance, competitively priced data storage RAID systems. With an extensive line of Fibre Channel, NAS, DAS, and hybrid flash storage solutions for any computing platform and operating system, comprehensive free technical support, and fast on-time product deliveries, AC&NC brings freedom of choice to all clients, from workgroup to enterprise. Our RAID systems ensure rapid, round-the-clock access to all of the information our customers rely on to move forward in the 21st century. 

 
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