Research Data 
Migration successfully 

In December 2014, the HPRC team undertook an upgrade of the GPFS filesystem that is shared across several compute clusters.  The old hardware had been commissioned in 2008 and had recently suffered some failures, leaving the service highly at risk of losing research data.

Leveraging the College’s investment in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), an additional 60 terabytes of storage was purchased and installed in the new VNX system. This storage was connected by fibre channel to the existing HPRC I/O servers to allow the migration of the data to occur.

One of the key features of GPFS is the ability to add and remove disks from the filesystem without interruption to service. Therefore the migration of the data could run in the background with no impact on users.

The upgrade was carried out as a three step process:
– Extend the filesystem by adding the new disks
– Migrate the data from the old to the new disks
– Remove the now empty old disks from the filesystem

It was agreed to undertake this large operation in the days before the Christmas holidays. Overnight between 22nd and 23rd December, approximately 11 terabytes  of data was migrated with no issues. Therefore, just before leaving for the holidays the migration of the remaining 25 terabytes of data was initiated. With a little remote babysitting over the holiday period the migration was completed without data loss or downtime.

Now all critical research data on the HPRC clusters is housed on new equipment with warranties and support contracts in place.  Overall the project saved College approximately €120k by saving on the purchase of a replacement standalone storage platform for the HPRC systems.

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