IBM Case Study     The Paris Astrophysics Institute     launches new satellite research with a     high-performance soluti...
The institute recently set about choosing a high-performance server to handle theformidable tasks of gathering, storing an...
connected to 140 servers, has 160 disks, for a useful capacity of 128 TB—ideal for                                        ...
For more information                                                                     © Copyright IBM Corporation 2009 ...
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Customer Case Study - PLANCK


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Customer Case Study - PLANCK

  1. 1. IBM Case Study The Paris Astrophysics Institute launches new satellite research with a high-performance solution from IBM Overview ■ Challenge To fit faster, more advanced and upgradeable computing and storage equipment in a small space in order to support new satellite research ■ Solution Implementing an IBM System x iDataPlex server cluster to deliver over 10 teraflops of computing power, and an IBM System Storage DCS9900 with IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) technology to manage massive amounts of data The Paris Astrophysics Institute (IAP) is “ The IBM iDataPlex ■ Benefits a laboratory of France’s National Center Processes 500 billion pieces of system has for Scientific Research (CNRS), a sci- raw data, provides over 128 TB ence and technology agency of the outperformed what we of data storage capacity in a French government. Operating at the were promised.” small data center footprint, and intersection of two fields of research, — Phillippe Parnaudeau, Manager consumes 40 percent less the institute brings together astrophysi- for Physical Infrastructure, energy than traditional systems cists from the Universe Sciences and Paris Astrophysics Institute Physical Sciences divisions of CNRS. It has a staff of 160 scientists, engineers, technicians, administrators and gradu- ate students.
  2. 2. The institute recently set about choosing a high-performance server to handle theformidable tasks of gathering, storing and analyzing 500 billion pieces of raw datacollected by Planck—a European Space Agency satellite launched in 2009 tosearch for the origins of the universe—and Planck’s High Frequency Instrument(HFI). The only problem was that there was no data center space available tohouse the new equipment.Deploying maximum computing power in a minimal amount of spaceIn order to accommodate the computing requirements of the Planck project, IAPwas tasked with finding a solution that would increase computing power whiledecreasing the amount of space required to house it. “These technical constraintswere spelled out in the specifications,” remarks Phillippe Parnaudeau, Manager forPhysical Infrastructure at IAP. “Our computer room already contains other serversand cannot be expanded.”But size was just one part of the challenge. “We also wanted the new system tohave a thermal protective coating and use no more than 50 kW of power,” saysParnaudeau. To address both space constraints and power concerns, the Instituteturned to IBM and IBM Business Partner Serviware, a major player in HighPerformance Computing (HPC) cluster integration. IBM and Serviware came upwith a new, high-performance solution tailored to the computer engineers’ scientificand physical needs.Drawing on the strengths of IBM System x iDataPlexThe IBM System x® iDataPlex™ solution was an ideal choice for the Planck proj-ect. The system takes up an area only 7.2 meters long and 1.2 meters wide, butcan process billions of pieces of raw data. The solution delivers high computationperformance and ease of management, while saving on space, energy consump-tion, and cooling costs.The IBM System Storage™ DCS9900 disk storage system is specifically designedto address the dense storage needs of high-performance computing environments.The combination of a System x iDataPlex cluster and System Storage DCS9900disk storage system meets the Institute’s demanding performance criteria for pro-cessing capability, volumetrics and input/output speed—while at the same timeaccommodating the computer room’s space and energy consumption constraints.Realizing the benefits of high processing power and storage capacityThe 140-node System x iDataPlex cluster runs the Linux® operating system andboasts 3 GHz Intel® Xeon® quad core processors delivering over 10 teraflops ofpower for 9 teraflops on demand. The DCS9900 disk storage server, which is
  3. 3. connected to 140 servers, has 160 disks, for a useful capacity of 128 TB—ideal for Solution Componentsheavy computation applications. A network file system (NFS) storage unit roundsout the configuration by providing an additional 220 GB of disk capacity. ● IBM System x® iDataPlex™ clusterIBM GPFS™ technology helps provide swift, reliable access to data. ● IBM System x3650 ● IBM System x3850 M2Three IBM System x3650 servers running Linux were deployed to administrate ● IBM System Storage™ DCS9900the server nodes, while one IBM System x3850 M2 server is used as a largememory server. The interconnection InfiniBand network delivers a bandwidth of2.5 GB per second and latency below 4 microseconds.The configuration combines high processing power with a reduced footprint andelectrical consumption 40 percent below that of traditional systems, or 50 kW max-imum. Parnaudeau also appreciates how quiet the systems are, describing it as“another plus that improves the working environment for the systems engineer.”The solution enables two levels of storage hardware, providing a parallel architec-ture system for a read-write throughput of 2 to 3 GB and another less rapid systemfor storing intermediate results.“The IBM iDataPlex system has outperformed what we were promised,” saysParnaudeau. “IBM kept its word and Serviware met our expectations for servicequality.”A seamless solution for processing and storing massive amounts of dataThe IBM solution fits into a modest-sized area while still delivering very high pro-cessing capabilities. Users and IT engineers worked closely together to set it upand fine-tune it so that it would be up and running on the day Planck was putinto orbit.Now, the Planck project’s chief scientists, Jean-Loup Puget, Jean-Michel Lamarre,and Francois R. Bouchet, and their teams are using this ultra-high-performing solu-tion to measure with unsurpassed accuracy the fossil radiation that bathes the uni-verse. Aided by France’s HFI scientific instrument, which was developed by CNRSand the French National Space Center (CNES) and was loaded onboard the satel-lite, they will draw maps of the entire sky with 50 million pixels each. The maps willprovide long-awaited clues to the mysteries of the universe. Initial project data isexpected to be published in 2013.
  4. 4. For more information © Copyright IBM Corporation 2009 IBM Systems and Technology GroupContact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner. Visit us at: Route Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of AmericaFor more information about the Paris Astrophysics Institute, visit: October 2009 All Rights ReservedFor more information about Serviware, visit IBM, the IBM logo,, iDataPlex, and System x are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries or both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. IBM and Serviware are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Serviware makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS-IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED XSC03049-USEN-00