SGI to Provide Massive Data Storage Capability for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

SGI to Provide Massive Data Storage Capability for the Australian Square
Kilometre Array Pathfinder

Technical Computing Leader to Tackle Big Data Infrastructure Ultimately
Finding Solutions to Challenges in Science

FREMONT, Calif., April 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SGI (Nasdaq:SGI), the
trusted leader in technical computing, today announced that iVEC and the
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have
selected SGI to provide the massive data management infrastructure at the
Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. The centre is part of the Australian Government
Super Science Initiative to support the Australian Square Kilometre Array
Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio astronomy

The Pawsey Centre will process huge volumes of data. The two largest
generators of data are expected to be the Australian Square Kilometre Array
Pathfinder (ASKAP), Australia's largest and most capable radio telescope ever
constructed, and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) project, which studies
the signals from the dynamic radio sky as well as measurements of the Sun and
heliospheric plasma. These initiatives will expand understanding of the
universe and drive technological development worldwide. It is anticipated that
these two projects combined will generate eight petabytes of data each year,
all of which will flow through the Pawsey Centre. When adding in data from
other research areas, such as geothermal modelling and rock characterisation,
iVEC forecasts supporting data volumes at approximately ten petabytes annually
for the foreseeable future. To manage such volumes, CSIRO selected an SGI^®
InfiniteStorage™ and SGI^® UV™ 2000 based solution to address the scale and
cost-efficiency requirements for a project of this magnitude.

The SGI InfiniteStorage solution comprises disk storage systems and licences
to support up to 100 petabytes of online storage that is virtualized across
multiple performance tiers by SGI^® DMF™ software, with data ingest and
workflow managed by SGI^® LiveArc™. The system's six petabytes of primary
storage is virtualized to provide further flexibility and savings with an
additional cache of SGI MAID, the company's energy-efficient zero-watt disk
technology. This environment integrates with 40 petabytes of data tape
libraries and provides expansion capabilities to support a seamless
100-petabyte hierarchical storage management (HSM) online environment.

Beyond big data management and storage, the SGI UV 2000 solution delivers both
big data analysis and visualization capabilities. Working as a set of
data-analysis engines to move and process huge amounts of data very quickly,
the SGI UV 2000 can be incorporated into an array of different workflows to
provide pre- and post- processing for a range of scientific applications. The
versatility of the SGI UV 2000 allows the Pawsey Centre to deliver extremely
powerful big data visualization capabilities, enabling its researchers to view
and manipulate vast amounts of data in new ways. This new technology will
allow the Pawsey scientists to visualize images in the order of four
terabytes, an order of magnitude greater than the size of images previously
available, which in turn provides a quicker path to results and interactions.

"iVEC is committed to ensuring Australia maintains its place as a world leader
in research and scientific computing, and the Pawsey Centre is a critical
pillar in this strategy," says Neil Stringfellow, iVEC's executive director.
"SGI's storage and data analysis infrastructure is a vital component of the
Pawsey infrastructure. In particular the SGI UV 2000 visualisation system with
its very large shared memory capability will enable our researchers to
manipulate their data in a completely new way, leading to the potential for
new insight and ambitious analysis."

The Pawsey Centre is expected to be fully operational and in production by
October 2013, with users gaining early access before June. It is anticipated
that the first component to be heavily used will be the SGI InfiniteStorage
based HSM as the radio-astronomy community moves into the final testing phase
for their apparatus and begins to stream significant volumes of data. The SGI
UV 2000 based data-analysis engines and visualisation systems are expected to
come online shortly thereafter.

"For decades, SGI has been solving Big Data challenges for researchers across
science and industry in an effort to find answers to the world's toughest
challenges," said Jorge Titinger, president and CEO, SGI. "We are very pleased
to support the data management needs of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. They
are conducting impressive research, and with our InfiniteStorage and UV 2000
technology, will be able to reach results and interactions more quickly. We
look forward to continuing this partnership and seeing the Pawsey Centre's
revolutionary solutions to challenges in science."

Several aspects to Big Data including volume, velocity and variety are
highlighted in a video featuring Jorge Titinger, president and CEO, SGI,

Technical notes

SGI InfiniteStorage Environment:

  *SGI DMF – virtualization software and licenses to support expansion up to
    100 petabytes of tiered storage
  *SGI CXFS™ – high performance clustered file system
  *SGI LiveArc – metadata and data workflow management software
  *Six petabytes of high performance IS5600 storage
  *Nearly a petabyte of SGI MAID, power-efficient zero-watt disk, as a
    low-latency cache

Data Processing and Visualisation:

  *The high-speed SGI InfiniteStorage environment is connected to the data
    processing and visualisation systems with two 56 GB/sec InfiniBand
    networks. An SGI UV 2000 combined with 34 SGI Rackable^® C2108 servers
    underpins the visualisation solution and provides a general-purpose
    virtualised server environment. The SGI UV 2000 built with the latest
    Intel^® Xeon^® processors and 6 terabytes of main memory to provide high
    speed in-memory data manipulation. It is augmented with four Nvidia^®
    Tesla^® K20 accelerators.
  *Two SGI UV 20 servers provide a foundation for SGI's LiveArc workflow and
    metadata management software to deliver the complex data workflows within
    the storage and visualisation systems.
  *A dozen SGI C2108 servers implement the CXFS clustered filesystem, the DMF
    hierarchical storage manager, and provide gateways between the storage and
    the Petascale and Real-Time computers. Four additional C2108 servers
    function as parallel data movers to transfer massive amounts of data
    between the disk storage and the robotic tape libraries.
  *Installation and support provided by SGI Professional Services.

About iVec

iVEC provides high performance computing, network and visualisation
capabilities to the Australian research community including Square Kilometre
Array precursor projects. iVEC's goal is to enable world-class science and
research to be undertaken in Western Australia and beyond, to gain
international recognition for Australia's science and research capabilities
and to enable researchers to realise the potential of computational science in
the Petascale era. More information can be found online at or via
Facebook or Twitter.

About Australia Square Kilometre Array

The Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope (ASKAP), being developed by CSIRO, is
made up of thirty six identical antennas, each twelve metres in diameter,
working together as a single instrument. Incorporating novel receiver
technologies and leading-edge ICT systems, ASKAP will be one of the world's
premier radio telescopes. Technologies developed for ASKAP will be used in the
further 64 dish antennas to form the basis of a 100-dish survey telescope to
be built in SKA's first phase. The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) will
consist of 2048 dual-polarization dipole antennas optimized for the 80-300 MHz
frequency range, arranged as 128 "tiles", each a 4x4 array of dipoles.

About SGI

SGI, the trusted leader in technical computing, is focused on helping
customers solve their most demanding business and technology challenges. Visit for more information. Connect with SGI on Twitter (@sgi_corp), YouTube
(, Facebook ( and LinkedIn.

Media Contact Information:
Ogilvy Public Relations:
Meghan Fintland

Ellen Sinclair
+61 (0)2 8281 3228

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