Japan's National Institute of Natural Sciences Boosts Scientific Research Efficiency with a Huawei NAS Solution
Progress is only possible through the accumulation then dissemination of knowledge. Here, dedicated research institutions working in various fields play a pivotal role in advancing understanding, providing a foundation for the growth of society as a whole. Japan's National Institute of Natural Sciences (NINS) is a case in point. Dedicated to addressing the most pressing global challenges, including finding solutions to key energy, environmental, and healthcare issues, it's actually a consortium of specialized research institutes working at the cutting-edge. As such, the NINS provides a platform for collaboration and joint research, supported by state-of-the-art facilities. It also promotes education and outreach activities to further public understanding of science and inspire future generations.
The National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB), the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), and the Institute for Molecular Sciences (IMS) are members of NINS and all headquartered in Okazaki city in central Japan. Generating a significant amount of diverse research data on a daily basis, the Okazaki Administration Center supports all three, providing them with robust network & data infrastructure. Historically, this infrastructure has needed to be renewed every five years, to keep up with evolving needs. Indeed, Samurai Ohno, who works in the Okazaki Information Network Management Office and is responsible for sourcing new infrastructure solutions, explained that this approach was seen as the only way to ensure security and solve key challenges.
But with data volumes spiraling and only set to grow, a new generation of connected researchers and students using mobile devices around the clock, accessing a range of cloud services, caused workloads to further increase. Inefficient storage across multiple sites was also a real issue, given that there are dozens of divisions, laboratories, and research centers working across the NIBB, NIPS, and IMS. Data stored independently on Personal Computers (PCs) led to significant management headaches for administrators. Such locally stored data also threatened to compromise security through losses and leaks.
"So I was wondering," Ohno explained, "if I could build infrastructure that not only satisfied requirements over the next five years, but for much longer than that."
It was at this point that Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-flash Storage began to pique his interest.
Education institutions handle vast amounts of data on a daily basis, including school applications and research data that are crucial to maintaining high-quality education. Given their different areas of research focus, those three institutes in Okazaki generated various data types, required a range of storage solutions and include dozens of file types to meet diverse needs and accommodate both digital and physical materials. For example, with different data types generated daily such as CSV, JSON, and SQL — from research findings and genomic data to clinical trial data — it's the multi-core function that enables flexible allocation and dynamic adjustment of storage resources, according to changing needs.
To ensure smooth operations, a storage solution that offers high performance, reliability, and scalability is essential. This is where the OceanStor Dorado 6000 all-flash storage system comes in.
With its high-performance Network-Attached Storage (NAS) solution, it provides fast, scalable, and dependable storage for both applications and data, supporting a range of interfaces. The solution is managed through intelligent software that offers various data protection and Disaster Recovery (DR) schemes.
The OceanStor Dorado solution boasts a highly distinctive feature in the form of its multi-core function, which allows for simultaneous processing of tasks, thereby improving overall processing capability and efficiency. When schools engage in research and data collection, the solution's intelligent load balancing and failover functions ensure system stability and reliability. Combined with virtualization software, virtual controllers can be created on the storage platform, effectively dividing a physical storage system into multiple independent virtual storage systems. Each of these virtual systems has its own control functionality and storage resources, optimizing resource utilization. In this particular instance, OceanStor Dorado 6000 storage devices were implemented in HyperMetro, Huawei's active-active storage solution, where both storage systems process services simultaneously, establishing a mutual backup relationship between them.
In addition, institutes like NIBB and IMS store physical samples, such as blood or tissue, for future analysis. Such samples need to be physically stored under specific conditions, in order to maintain their integrity, while the data related to them needs to be secure and easily recoverable. Each vNode of OceanStor Dorado devices operates as a separate storage entity, with its own set of data protection policies and DR capabilities, enhancing overall data reliability. Such technology was applied to the thermal management system for example, safeguarding environmental conditions for sensitive samples as well as the data related to them.
Plus, given the breadth of Huawei's product portfolio, including additional network infrastructure such as LAN switches and dedicated bandwidth to each connected device, has helped to reduce network congestion and improve overall network performance. As a result, the NIBB, NIPS, and IMS have been able to develop services of much higher quality than originally anticipated.
Huawei's technical advantages in storage has played a crucial role in this success. The easily scalable OceanStor Dorado NAS solution can also accommodate growing needs without impacting other virtual storage systems, ensuring long-term sustainability beyond the traditional five-year limit, as envisioned by Ohno at the outset.
"After implementation, there have been no complaints about service speeds or disconnections."
Amember of the Research Center for Computational Science at the IMS.