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DIY Disruptive Storage

Story by Salma Warshanna-Sparklin • Illustration by Sorbetto

The exponential growth of Big Data sent Fernando Pineda, PhD, searching for more storage space for the Department of Biostatistics. He needed a high-performance parallel file system, which can handle thousands of data requests simultaneously, but it wasn’t affordable. “The commercial market is selling Ferraris when we need big trucks!” Pineda says.

So Pineda and his team took the do-it-yourself route and built their own extraordinarily inexpensive, low-power Lustre storage system. They’ll be sharing their secrets with other institutions at their October 9-10 workshop aptly called “Disruptive Storage.”

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3 Takeaways

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The design uses slow, low-performance disk drives to save money and power.

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The initial storage capacity is about 1.2 petabytes: more than a million billion characters. 

fracking rig

The system cost $160,000, while vendors charge $500,000 to $750,000 for one with equivalent storage space.

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