From sound simulations to accurate climate diagnoses


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This white paper is an IBM case study.The German Climate Computing Center implemented an IBM solution to built one of the world's largest data archives using HPSS (High Performance Storage System). The new archive solution enabled them to manage the enormous data volumes that researchers are obtaining on increasingly faster computers. The outstanding scalability and high-performance integration in the POWER6 cluster from IBM were the deciding factors in selecting the HPSS System.

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From sound simulations to accurate climate diagnoses

  1. 1. Let’s build a smarter planet From sound simulations to accurate climate diagnoses The German Climate Computing Center [Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum or DKRZ] is establishing the requirements for precise climate research with IT support from IBM Nature is unpredictable, or is it? Together with IBM, the German Overview Climate Computing Center (DKRZ) is shaking up this paradigm. The need As a central service facility for scientific climate research, the DKRZ The DKRZ guarantees first-class climate is pursuing the question of how the global climate will develop in the research by providing the highest future. By using the most modern IT architecture, it is constantly computing power, sophisticated management of the largest data volumes advancing our knowledge of the environment. Infinite potential climate and competent service. scenarios are created and analyzed here using high performance The solution computers. In this process, the simulations are meant to contribute to HLRE 2 with the largest IBM POWER6® developing suitable measures for adequately addressing climate change system in Germany; construction of challenges. With the goal of being able to successfully intervene, scientists one of the world’s largest data archives are researching the influence that humans have on our increasingly using HPSS. changing world. The status report of the UN’s IPCC [Intergovernmental Why the solution is intelligent Panel on Climate Change], which appears regularly every few years, is HLRE 2’s computing power is 60 times prepared based on computer-supported climate simulations that are being greater than that of the previous model and thus allows more detailed and smaller- performed on the computers at the DKRZ, among others. The report scale climate forecasts to be prepared than summarizes current scientific opinions on climate change and thus ever before. The extremely powerful and establishes the basis for appropriate action on a political level. scalable HPSS archive system with a huge band storage capacity designed specifically to meet the requirements of the Exorbitant data volumes and computing power DKRZ manages climate simulation data Whether on land, in the water or on ice: Researchers the world over are and makes it easy for the earth system researchers to call up the data. working feverishly to analyze climate data. Samples are being taken, surveys are being performed, and the results recorded. However, this data The benefits alone does not mean much. Only by comparing it with climate simulations Increase in scientific knowledge for earth system research due to the preparation developments and trends become understandable on a global scale. and analysis of complex models in the For such climate simulations the best and most modern supercomputers global climate system and therefore the are required. Their performance directly impact the accuracy of the basis for preventive as well as intervention forecasts for the future climate changes on our planet. Not only exorbitant measures with regard to worldwide climate change. volumes of data have to be processed for research purposes, it has to be stored and retrieved over the long term. The requirements of the DKRZ for its data archive are very high due to their importance as a central resource for earth system research. Research results stored there are used by scientists from around the world. Intelligent networking makes it possible to pool global knowledge. In addition to the constantly growing data volumes, the demand for computing power and the data archive is also on the rise. With the most modern and powerful systems from IBM, DKRZ is now equipped to face this challenge.
  2. 2. Let’s build a smarter planet Coordinating and implementing “The new archive a superlative project In order to create even higher quality and more accurate climate solution enables us to simulations, the DKRZ decided to install one of the most powerful manage the enormous super computers available on the market. The HLRE 2 (High Performance data volumes that Computer for Earth System Research) built using an IBM POWER6 cluster. To optimally use the resources and to adapt the customers’ researchers are obtaining simulation programs to the new IT architecture, IBM first performed an on increasingly faster application benchmark. With the help of the POWER6 cluster, DKRZ computers. The was able to achieve a total throughput rate 60 times greater than the previous model. The increased performance directly impacts the quality outstanding scalability of the forecasts because they enable considerably more of the processes and high-performance that occur in our environment to be reproduced. Furthermore, the data integration in the archive had to be enlarged and modernized. This was the first time in Germany that IBM introduced the data storage solution HPSS (High POWER6 cluster from Performance Storage System) – an innovative technology that was IBM were the deciding co-developed by IBM. Within only five months the project of superlatives factors in selecting the was able to be put into action. At the same time the DKRZ was moving into a new building, both the POWER6 system and the HPSS were HPSS System.” installed. In a matter of just a few weeks, technicians managed to build the POWER6 system with more than 260 servers and countless racks. — Ulf Garternicht, Systems department manager at DKRZ. IBM laid several kilometers of wires and developed the basis for water cooling the system. Once IBM had finished installing the super [Source: PI “German Climate Research computer, it proceeded with installing the HPSS. Center DKRZ begins operating one of the world’s largest data archives,” July 2009] Like POWER6, the hardware used in the HPSS is also from IBM. However the set up of the data archive is mainly a service; storage systems of this magnitude are unique. That is why IBM initially determined the precise requirements of the DKRZ during numerous workshops and thereby developed suitable implementation strategies. Since it was necessary to transfer 32,000 magnetic tapes without having to copy a byte IBM developed a special software to migrate the data as quickly as possible from the old to the new system. The inventory data was migrated with the help of the software within just two weeks; without it, this would have taken years. As a basis for this migration IBM technicians created a directory of the old tapes in the new digital archive. The tapes can be read using the customized software. Once the data is accessed, they are unobtrusively re-written for the user in the HPSS format without delay. To benefit from synergy effects, the HPSS is integrated into the new
  3. 3. Let’s build a smarter planet super computer. Due to the additional configuration as an independent system, it can be used above and beyond its service life. Ulf Garternicht, “The accuracy of climate Systems department manager at DKRZ: “The new archive solution now simulations is heavily enables us to manage the enormous data volumes that climate researchers dependent on the available are obtaining on increasingly faster computers. The outstanding scalability and high-performance integration in the POWER6 cluster from IBM computing power. The were the deciding factors in selecting the HPSS System.” IBM maintains new computer enables us the entire solution on site and the company’s know-how and expertise are to record considerably available to the DKRZ as part of a five-year agreement. more processes and Regional, national, global: improved smaller-scale phenomena forecasts for climate changes than ever before.” Today, the DKRZ manages a considerably higher data volume than was ever possible with the previous system. Furthermore, the HPSS offers the — Dr. Joachim Biercamp, Applications necessary storage capacity to record processes from the complex climate department manager at DKRZ and earth system with increasingly realistic as well as highly developed [Source: Video DKRZ] numerical models. With 60-times more power than the predecessor model, the POWER6 system opens up completely new opportunities for the DKRZ. Dr. Joachim Biercamp, Applications department manager at DKRZ: “The accuracy of climate simulations is heavily dependent on the available computing power. The new computer enables us to record considerably more processes and smaller-scale phenomena than ever Digitalized before.” With a peak output of more than 150 TeraFlops, which is more Efficient management and reliable access to large data volumes help scientists gain than 150 billion computing operations per second, the HLRE 2 ranks new insights in the development of the among the world’s largest super computers used for scientific and global and regional climate. Furthermore, research purposes. The entire system is operated from electricity the new super computer enables climate models to be calculated more precisely. generated by renewable energy. The new solution from the super computer and the data archive enables us to better understand climatic Networked events and environmental processes. Due to the enormous computing The HPSS essentially manages data that are generated by climate simulations. The power, the climate model has a higher spatial resolution and contains data volumes amount to ten thousand more processes which previously were only able to be parameterized terabytes that are split up into millions of inaccurately. With the aid of the archived data, developments and future files. In order to be able to store data as quickly as possible, the archive system is tendencies can be understood easier and be prognosticated more integrated into the new super computer. profound. With this new knowledge researchers are developing and building suitable strategies to slow climate change. This successful Intelligent symbiosis between scientific expertise at the DKRZ and highly modern The solution gives the DKRZ the necessary storage capacity to manage the data and IBM technology is therefore helping us to better understand the complex to realistically record complex processes processes of our environment, protect it better, and to preserve it as a within the climate and earth system. home to all living things. The HLRE 2 provides the necessary IT resources to create detailed simulations and thereby more precise forecasts concerning climate development.
  4. 4. Solution components• Hardware –– IBM® Power® 550 –– IBM Power 575 –– IBM System Storage® DS5300 –– IBM System Storage EXP5000 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2010• Software IBM Systems and Technology Group –– IBM AIX® Route 100 –– General Parallel File System™ (GPFS™) Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. –– Tivoli® Storage Manger• Services Produced in the United States of America October 2010 –– IBM Global Technology Services All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, Let’s Build a Smarter PlanetBusiness use and Smarter Planet are trademarks or registered trademarks of of International Business Machines Corporation in• The new computer enables DKRZ to record considerably more processes the United States, other countries, or both. If these and and smaller-scale phenomena than ever before other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first• Scalable archiving solution to manage constantly increasing data volumes occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or over the long term common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this• Overall, the IT architecture from the HLRE 2 and HPSS allows for a information was published. Such trademarks may also be better research of the earth system processes. Climate forecasts are registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web becoming more sound and the complex influence of humans on our at “Copyright and trademark information” at ecosystem can be reconstructed more accurately Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. 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 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. Please recycle DCC03003-USEN-00