The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (a resource of the University of Minnesota, whose mission is to provide research computing to faculty, students and greater Minnesota) is a world-class facility that provides computing infrastructure and expertise to foster innovation through advanced computing technologies, scientific computing services, and more.

The university’s researchers rely heavily on MSI’s infrastructure to conduct a wide variety of fascinating research, including contributing to the worldwide global genomics project, creating sustainable energy initiatives, and monitoring global agriculture and environmental changes.

And so, when MSI’s legacy infrastructure was hampering the Institute’s goals to service its internal customers with scalable, easy-to-deploy, high-performance data solutions, it started the search for a more cost-effective, scalable storage solution. One of MSI’s requirements was that any new solution had to utilize Ceph; the leading open-source, distributed, scale-out platform that underpins enterprise-level software-defined storage (SDS).

A number of years ago MSI began exploring Ceph as the MSI team believed it held great promise in more effectively delivering compute storage. However, whilst Ceph is undoubtedly powerful, it is also incredibly complex, requiring specialist technicians to deploy and manage the software. As a result, its adoption within the University had been limited to the supercomputing group.

“Ceph has some amazing benefits,” says Jeffrey McDonald, Ph.D., Associate Director for Operations at the Institute. “We felt it had great potential to go far beyond what we were doing in high-performance computing, but it was difficult to harness those capabilities without specially trained IT personnel. SoftIron’s HyperDrive appliance is enabling us to go much further with Ceph than we would have on our own.”

Read more about how SoftIron and MSI worked together to unlock cost savings and scalability with HyperDrive.

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