INDUSTRY:MAnufacturing1.888.PANASAS | www.panasas.comATK AerospaceCUSTOMERATK AerospaceINDUSTRYAerospace manufacturingChal...
INDUSTRY:ManufacturingSUCCESSSTORY:ATKAerospace© 2013 Panasas, Inc. All rights reserved. Panasas, the Panasas logo, Active...
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ATK Aerospace Uses Panasas ActiveStor to accelerate Design

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ATK Aerospace is the world’s top producer of solid rocket propulsion systems and a leading supplier of military and commercial aircraft structures. It built the systems that lifted the Space Shuttle, the Mars rover, and the Hubble Space Telescope into space. ATK engineers use Panasas ActiveStor to speed innovation and reduce cost in its demanding research, and product performance simulation processes.

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ATK Aerospace Uses Panasas ActiveStor to accelerate Design

  1. 1. INDUSTRY:MAnufacturing1.888.PANASAS | www.panasas.comATK AerospaceCUSTOMERATK AerospaceINDUSTRYAerospace manufacturingChallengeATK needed a stable, reliable, highperformance parallel storage systemfor their design engineering teamsSolution• Panasas ActiveStor 12 (60TB)• PanFS parallel file system• 10Gb Ethernet switchingResult• Simple, reliable storage withunmatched performance• Painless maintenance andsuperior technical supportSUMMARYSUCCESSSTORY:ATKAerospaCeATK was founded in 1990 when Honey-well spun off its defense businesses. ATKexpanded into the aerospace market withthe acquisitions of Hercules AerospaceCompany in 1995 and Thiokol Propulsion in2001, which transformed the company intothe world’s largest supplier of solid propel-lant rocket motors and a leading providerof high-performance composite structures.ATK is in a highly competitive industry anduse advanced design and simulation ap-plications such as ANSYS Fluent, CD-adapcoSTAR-CCM+, and Simulia Abaqus to improvereliability, speed time-to-market and reducemanufacturing costs. ATK has a centralizedhigh performance computing center dedi-cated to their engineering teams at varioussites. The center is currently used by severalbusiness units within the company in 14sites across the country.Ramesh Krishnan, senior staff engineer atATK, is responsible for making sure that theengineering teams have the hardware andsoftware needed to support their simula-tion applications. In order to maintain theirservices at the highest level, ATK refreshesits technology on a three-year lease cycle.This allows ATK to provide state-of-the-artservices to their engineers. “We get thevery best hardware and software that wecan get, for our budget, and then refreshit every three years,” said Krishnan.“Panasas is what storage shouldbe—something that you don’t haveto think about.”Nate Fuhriman, HPC Administrator, ATKThe ChallengeATK acquired its first Linux cluster alongwith a GPFS parallel file system aboutsix years ago with its prior technologyrefresh. The implementation of the clusterprovided a significant boost to capacity andapplication performance. The GPFS file sys-tem, however, had been problematic withsporadic performance and reliability issues.In their subsequent HPC technology refreshabout three years ago, ATK planned to up-date its existing HPC infrastructure with anewer, larger, faster Linux cluster and a bet-ter performing file system. Its IT staff knewthat their key applications required parallelI/O and that a parallel file system wouldprovide them with the best performance.ATK does not maintain a large dedicatedsupport staff to operate and maintain theirHPC environment and so sought a reliable,robust high performance storage platformthat would not require a great amount ofmaintenance effort. “We considered theLustre open-source parallel file system, butit seemed that it would require a lot ofwork and skills to configure and maintain,”said Krishnan. “We heard about Panasasat HPC conferences, industry contacts andfrom other users. ActiveStor performancewas impressive and the fact that Panasasworked directly with our software vendorto ensure compatibility and optimize per-formance with these applications was veryimportant to us. Once we took a look atwhat Panasas had to offer, we knew thatit would be the best fit for us.”ATK Aerospace Uses Panasas®ActiveStor®to Accelerate DesignATK Aerospace is the world’s top producer of solid rocket propulsion systems and a leadingsupplier of military and commercial aircraft structures. ATK engineers need state of the artcomputer-aided engineering (CAE) tools to design and simulate performance of solid fuelrocket. Their high performance computing center relies on Panasas ActiveStor to providecost-effective performance and ease of use to fuel engineering design and simulations.
  2. 2. INDUSTRY:ManufacturingSUCCESSSTORY:ATKAerospace© 2013 Panasas, Inc. All rights reserved. Panasas, the Panasas logo, ActiveStor, PanFS and DirectFlow are trademarks or registered trademarks of Panasas, Inc., in the U.S.and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks, trade names, company names and service marks are the respective properties of their holders.Reaching for the StarsATK is a pioneer in solid rocket propulsion systems, missile defense,solar arrays and satellite management systems, and develops newtechnologies for small and micro satellites. It has built propulsionsystems, including those that lifted the Space Shuttle, the Mars roverand the Hubble Space Telescope into space.Efficient design and simulation of all aspects of its products is criticalto ATK. Engineers model fluid dynamics, combustion and structuralperformance accounting for conditions that might occur duringlift-off or flight. ATK relies heavily on state-of-the-art simulationsoftware to improve reliability, durability, aerodynamics, and toreduce manufacturing costs. The ability to speed the design processand reduce the number of live-fire tests means cutting costs andbeating competitors. “It can cost millions to test fire a missile or thespace shuttle rocket,” said Krishnan. “We are under tremendous costpressures. Anything we can do to cut costs, improve reliability androbustness and save time is critical to us. Speeding up the design andsimulation process with platforms like Panasas ActiveStor saves us anincredible amount of time and money.”The Panasas SolutionATK had intended to purchase a completecompute, network and storage solutionfrom a single vendor, as it had done in thepast. However, the vendor they selectedfor the computer and networking offereda competing storage solution. The teamat ATK recognized the importance of thestorage platform to their operations andto their users, so they elected to purchasestorage separately—directly from Panasas.The Panasas ActiveStor storage appliancesolution consisted of a fully integratedparallel file system connected to theirInfiniBand-based compute cluster. Theimplementation was quick and simple.ActiveStor provided the performance thatATK needed in a highly reliable and easyto manage package.“Panasas ActiveStor speeds up ourdesign and simulation processesand saves us an incredible amountof time and money.”Ramesh Krishnan, Senior Staff EngineerEngineering Process & Tools, ATK AerospaceThe ResultActiveStor has been extremely reliable sinceday one and system maintenance has beenpainless. The HPC center is a very smallshop and doesn’t have the resources tospend time making things work. As a com-mercial operation it needs hardware andsoftware that works and doesn’t requiremuch attention.“I love it because the users don’t evennotice it’s there,” said Nate Fuhriman,system administrator at ATK. “If a storageblade fails, I get a replacement quickly andno one knows that anything went wrong.When I call in for support, I get someonewho knows what they’re talking about,not just reading a script. Panasas is veryresponsive.”“Panasas has one of the nicest file systemsI’ve ever used. It’s what storage should be—it’s something that you don’t have to thinkabout. It just does its thing,” said Fuhriman.041520131094

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