IBM > Case Studies > CERN Leverages IBM Technology for Massive Data Management

CERN Leverages IBM Technology for Massive Data Management

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Technology Category
  • Application Infrastructure & Middleware - Database Management & Storage
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - Cloud Storage Services
Applicable Industries
  • Electrical Grids
  • Retail
Applicable Functions
  • Facility Management
Use Cases
  • Microgrid
  • Retail Store Automation
Services
  • Hardware Design & Engineering Services
The Challenge
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is tasked with managing an enormous data archive of 100 petabytes, a volume that nearly doubles as 13 large data centers worldwide receive partial copies of the data. The data is generated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, which is used to reconstruct the first moments of the universe to gain a better understanding of physical laws. The LHC generates more than 25 petabytes of data in the four main LHC experiments, even with drastic data filtering protocols in place. CERN does not have the computing capacity required to analyze the data, so it relies on a distributed environment consisting of 160 different computer centers located in 45 countries to distribute data to its scientists. The biggest challenge is the constant influx of data, more than a gigabyte per second, which needs to be stored, preserved in the long term, and made accessible to several thousand physicists worldwide.
About The Customer
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is a renowned scientific institution dedicated to understanding the universe. It operates the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is contained in a 27-kilometer circular tunnel running under France and Switzerland. The LHC accelerates particles to more than 99.9 percent the speed of light, generating energies never reached before. The data generated by the LHC experiments is analyzed by thousands of particle physicists across the globe in collaboration with CERN. The organization manages a massive data archive and relies on a distributed environment of computer centers worldwide to distribute and analyze the data.
The Solution
CERN utilizes IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Software, along with IBM enterprise-class tape hardware, to store, safeguard and provide real-time accessibility to petabytes of its data. The LHC computing grid works on a three-layered model. Primary copies of the data captured in LHC are stored at CERN with second copies being bulk processed at Tier-1 centers, typically national labs. The processed data is finally shared with physicists for interaction at Tier-2 centers, which are university departments located in 45 countries. A significant part of the infrastructure for long-term data storage and near-real-time accessibility at CERN is based on IBM enterprise-class tape hardware, including IBM TS3500 tape libraries and IBM TS1140 tape drives. It also leverages IBM Tivoli Storage Manager software. Today, IBM tape media accounts for approximately 50 percent of the organization’s tape volume. The Tivoli storage platform allows CERN to quickly restore the configuration and the data of any machines in the data center that may have experienced hardware or data failure.
Operational Impact
  • The IBM Tivoli Storage Manager solution provides exceptional scalability, performance, and reliability, enabling CERN to rely on the solution to restore its facilities and bring service back to its running state quickly. The primary value of the high-energy physics computing effort at CERN is its ability to capture, store and process data on such a massive scale, both now and as data volumes multiply exponentially over the next decade with planned upgrades to the LHC. The more reliability and stability the system has, the less manual intervention is needed, which is critical for CERN to be able to afford to run the operation. The long-standing collaboration between CERN and IBM has resulted in a large fraction of CERN's storage being based on IBM solutions.
Quantitative Benefit
  • IBM tape media accounts for approximately 50 percent of the organization’s tape volume.
  • The LHC generates more than 25 petabytes of data in the four main LHC experiments.
  • CERN manages a data archive of 100 petabytes, a volume that nearly doubles as 13 large data centers worldwide receive partial copies of the data.

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