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Until a few years ago, HPC relied on massive symmetric multiprocessing computers, but has moved to scale-out architectures with lots of x86 or commodity-based processors with DAS or NAS. The storage in these systems is aggregated under a small number of file systems such as Sun's open-source Lustre file system, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s StorageWorks Scalable File Share or Quantum Corp.'s StorNext.
Of the aggregated Thumper storage servers, six file servers with 144TB of disk space are allocated to user /home directories, 12 file servers with 288TB of disk space make up the work file system and 50 file servers with 1.2PB of disk space are reserved for scratch space. The remaining four Thumper servers are used as a "sandbox," says TACC's Minyard, to test file-system upgrades and new software versions.
In addition, the Lustre file system provides striping capability, in which data is divided and spread across several disks to increase performance (see
| "HPC: A study in tiered storage," below).
This was first published in October 2008