Synchrotron Soleil - Scientific data storage

Big scientific data

Serving scientists from both private industry and academia, synchrotron radiation is provided by a ring with a circumference of 354 meters through which high-energy electrons are accelerated to close to the speed of light.  The radiation is captured at different locations around the ring and channeled to 24 outputs, known as beamlines.  Each beamline is a laboratory in itself, equipped to analyze samples and process the data collected: data volumes growing exponentially that need to be stored, made secure, and archived in a data center-class environment.

All-in-one storage virtualization system

After considering a number of proposals, Soleil chose Active Circle as the only system that provided a single approach to meet all the project objectives: centralized administration, continuous availability and transparent access to data, variable data-storage duration depending on the type of user, and automatic archiving of rarely accessed data.  In terms of its architecture, Active Circle also met two key additional criteria: the scalability of capacity and hardware independence.  The Active Circle solution enables easy migration of data from one storage medium to another, thereby facilitating technological transitions.

Policy-driven data management

Data from experiments carried out in the beamline laboratories or data from the computing cluster is stored in Active Circle. The level of replication as well as the data retention are parameters set in the Policies and may be modified at any time.

The data is first stored as two copies in separate disc storage locations situated on two sites 300 meters apart: the central building and the Synchrotron building. Within each site, they are then replicated again on magnetic tape in TAR format.  There are thus a total of four copies.