CALMIP chooses a Bull storage system to handle the megadata generated by its users


March 22, 2016

Toulouse, 22 March 2016 – CALMIP, the intensive computing center in the French Midi-Pyrénées region, enters the Big Data age with a new storage system designed by Bull, the Atos brand for its technology products and software. With this new system, named Atlas and connected to the Eos supercomputer, CALMIP will be able to offer its users from research and industry new big data management services, which match the growing computing capacity already offered by CALMIP.

CALMIP – which stands for CALcul in MIdi-Pyrénées – is one of the largest academic High Performance Computing centers in France. Since 1999, it has made available its HPC platform, as well as accompanying services, to academic laboratories but also to innovative companies located in the region. It supports very diverse sectors, from fluid dynamics (particularly for aeronautics) to astrophysics, bioinformatics or materials chemical physics.

In the age of Big Data, CALMIP also wanted to develop its storage capacity so as to be able to tackle the huge amounts of data produced on its own supercomputer, or issued from experimental or observational research platforms, for example in astronomy, in engineering or in social sciences with the megadata gathered on Internet. After a competitive dialog, CALMIP selected for its Atlas platform the Bull solution proposed by Atos, in partnership with DDN, the leading provider of high performance storage solutions.

« All scientific domains are submerged by an ever growing volume of data to process. The only way to converge efficiently the growing needs for intensive computing and high performance storage is to co-locate the corresponding resources within the same infrastructure. This is why we chose to install Atlas right next to the Eos supercomputer and to have Atlas share it fast interconnect network for megadata. The solution proposed by Atos will allow us to offer to researchers and companies in our region the high performance storage services they need now – but also the services they will need in the future. We were convinced by the flexibility of the technical solution, which is sufficiently open to be able to support new usages, and sufficiently scalable to easily grow to match the success it will certainly meet with our users. We were also won over by the object storage approach, and being the first implementation of such a solution at such a scale in an HPC center is a very exciting challenge. » explains Boris Dintrans, director of CALMIP.

« For this project, the selection of technologies that finely matched planned usages was a key factor. The other challenge in this project was the strong time constraint: the Atos team installed the platform in record time, only six weeks elapsed between the time the order was passed and the time when the system was accepted. It is an outstanding achievement for a system of that size » adds Hélène Bringer, HPC Director for France, Atos.

The multi-petabytes storage platform designed by Atos brings together HPC and Big Data by combining the best of the available storage technologies:

  • 3 petabytes of regular file storage, a technology that is a good match for existing applications, with a GPFS parallel file system, based on the DDN GS12K appliance ;
  • 4 petabytes of object storage, an innovative technology that is a good match for Big Data and unstructured data, based on a DDN WOS platform. It is the first object storage system of that size deployed in France for High Performance Computing.

Atos will also advise CALMIP for the implementation of a catalog of added-value services for CALMIP users, particularly around object storage, with a strategic partnership on its usage for research.

CALMIP’s Atlas storage platform is installed within the intensive computing platform « Espace Clément Ader » on the Montaudran-Aerospace campus near Toulouse – the same site that also hosts CALMIP’s Bull Eos supercomputer. Atlas will be open to researchers for production in March 2016, just before it official inauguration on March 31.

About CALMIP

The regional HPC center CALMIP (Calcul en Midi-Pyrénées) is the shared academic computing center for the Midi-Pyrénées region in France. It is jointly sponsored by CNRS, the Institut National Polytechnique in Toulouse, the University of Toulouse 3, the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées in Toulouse and the Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées. CALMIP is open to academic researchers but also to the R&D departments of innovative companies. 400 scientists from 30 laboratories daily use CALMIP compute resources for 200 research projects, sharing 85 million compute hours annually. CALMIP is a founding member of the equipex Equip@Meso project, and is also the platform of the future Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region for the « Simulation PME » program that promotes HPC in the industry. For more information: https://www.calmip.univ-toulouse.fr