EUROSTORE to present high performance mass storage system's early results at HPCN Europe 2000

Amsterdam 10 May 2000Last February, the two-year Esprit-funded EUROSTORE project came to an end. At HPCN Europe 2000, the seven consortium members organised a one-day workshop to share their first results with like-minded participants. The major aim of the EUROSTORE team was to develop a high performance mass storage system which combines the high performance of a parallel file system (PFS) and the functionality of a hierarchical mass storage management system. The resulting management system consists of an open architecture, globally accessible from any network which supports standard protocols. EUROSTORE forms a promising storage tool for medical analyses and examinations including X-rays and CT scans, and for a wide variety of other applications in which there is a strong demand for huge data storage.

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The EUROSTORE system builders are the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron Gesellschaft (DESY) and Quadrics Supercomputers World Ltd. (QSW). DESY was responsible for the design of the hierarchical mass storage management (HSM) component, whereas QSW owns the parallel file system (PFS). The HSM system is based on a network centred service architecture, which consists in a number of individual sub-services running on multiple computer systems, and mapping onto distinct server processes. "Third party transfer mode" is used for data transmission, in which the data is directly flowing from the "mover" host to the requesting client machine. The PFS constitutes the main client and performs as a migration capable file system. Alternative user client interfaces can consist of staging or batch systems.

Due to the massive explosion of data volumes, there is a tremendous need for mass storage in different commercial, scientific, and industrial fields. In particular, the EUROSTORE project addresses telemedicine applications with two partners, displaying specific activities in this area. The Athens Medical Center (AMC) will utilise the system for the simultaneous management and processing of in- and out-patients and medical record storage. Since AMC is expanding its services to Eastern European countries, EUROSTORE's remote storage features will come in hand. In turn, TERA, the Italian Foundation for Oncological Hadrontherapy, currently is establishing a national database of oncological data, in which the EUROSTORE platform probably will play a key role with its built-in authentication and security protocols.

One of the benefits in this project is the adoption of low cost mass marketed devices as building blocks of the system's store. In this regard, the end-user requirements were provided by the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) and the Hellenic Company for Space Applications (HCSA). HNMS is planning to extend its capabilities in terms of weather services delivery, and therefore needs the EUROSTORE implementation. HCSA is specialised in the area of satellite imagery that involves urban, rural, as well as environmental monitoring. Here, a user transparent handling of large data repositories is of the utmost importance. In addition, the EUROSTORE consortium appointed the Centre Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) to assess the system in the field of high energy physics.

First, DESY and QSW developed a EUROSTORE prototype to be evaluated by the other partners as to see whether it would meet the different kinds of user needs. The resulting product is expected to be installed and deployed at the various partner sites. It will also be exploited by QSW as part of its strategic operations within high performance computing, in conjunction with country-distributors, such as HCSA. All subsequent development activities from the EUROSTORE partners intend to generate a competitive commercial product, suitable for a host of applications and market segments, related to national land registers management, the production of instruction manuals, arts and media archiving activities, public administration services, and e-commerce business.


Leslie Versweyveld

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