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With his users generating data at incredible rates, Alan Powers, high-end-computing lead for NASA’s Advanced Supercomputing Division, had to find a way to efficiently and inexpensively store data while keeping it accessible to users. About six years ago, Powers tested Silicon Graphics Inc.’s DMF (Data Migration Facility) solution, which blends tape- and hard-drive-based storage using automated data migration policies. Impressed enough during the tests, he decided to replace the Advanced Supercomputing Division’s homegrown HSM (hierarchical storage management) system with the DMF.

eWEEK Labs recently got a look at the system, which Powers said has capably handled everything the division’s users have thrown at it over the years.

SGI’s DMF, a data life-cycle management solution, is designed for high-performance computing environments. Using DMF, IT managers can grow storage capacity by augmenting primary storage with less expensive near-line storage in the form of tapes and inexpensive disks such as Serial ATA RAID setups.

By going with a DMF system instead of just adding more hard drive RAIDs, Powers estimates that he has saved five to 10 times the cost of purchasing more RAIDs.

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