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March 29, 2012

Finland’s Big Data Storage Leap

Nicole Hemsoth

Finland-based CSC, the government-sponsored Center for Science Ltd., provides the balance between academic and industry R&D and IT resource management in the country. In an effort to address its massive storage needs, the organization announced key multi-million-Euro contracts with both Fujitsu and Data Direct Networks (DDN).

The non-profit company is tasked with providing IT support and resources for academics, research institutions and private companies under the watchful eye of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

At the core of the state-supported company’s efforts are the provisioning of IT services and computational resources as well as offering scientific software and databases that are made available via the Funet network.

As it contends with the big data needs of its research and industry users, the organization has been looking to major storage and hardware vendors to boost its capacity. Earlier this week CSC announced that it signed a general framework contract with Fujitsu for 2.5 million Euros for storage technology provided by Fujitsu’s recent acquisition target, Hitachi Data Systems.

The organization said that part of the reason for the large contract was to contend with the needs of balancing cost with the growing data archiving, management and storage requirements of the Finnish scientific community. As the managing director for the center stated, the Fujitsu solution enables “competitive data management in a petascale storage environment and gives flexibility in the development of customer services.”

Jukka Mantyla, who heads product services at Fujitsu in the region said that this is an interesting contract for Fujitsu because “the use of massive storage solutions supporting high performance computing are currently very important areas of development at Fujitsu.”

In addition to the Fujitsu contract, CSC also announced a four-year framework contract with DDN for the same amount to spur the development of a tiered storage environment for the big data needs of a scientific computing environment. As a major vendor in high performance computing storage, DDN was selected in part due to its experience in big data environments.

As John Josephakis who heads HPC and Life Science sales at DDN noted, his company has been working with “big data” before the term was even coined. He pointed to the 14 years of research that has “helped to push the boundaries of computational science.”

The CSC, DDN contract calls for a fully-integrated storage environment combining the company’s SFA 10K technology, a multi-petabyte tape library and automated data migration software to streamline access to vast wells of scientific and research data.

With a start in 1971 and continued development to become a world-leading HPC center (it currently houses Louhi (left), the Cray-built Top500-caliber super) this is big news for Fujitsu, which has been ramping up efforts to boost its reputation in HPC and big data—as well as for DDN, an already-established HPC player.

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