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iSGTW Feature - Six petabytes: Fermilab hits new record

Feature - Six petabytes: Fermilab hits new record

The volume of data sent from the Tier-1 Fermilab computing center to Tier-2 sites continues to increase. The sites form part of the international grid being constructed in readiness for the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider.
Image courtesy of Fermilab

The U.S. national accelerator laboratory Fermilab recently reached a record six petabytes-six million gigabytes-of data permanently recorded on tape, while data sent from the lab exceeded two petabytes, more than double the amount leaving the lab three months earlier.

"Our traffic has been growing in terms of the amount of bytes we move onto the site as the Large Hadron Collider and Compact Muon Solenoid experiments ramp up," said Matt Crawford, the department head for Data Movement and Storage in Fermilab's Computing Division.

Prior to a year ago, traffic never exceeded a fourth of a petabyte in a month, Crawford said. He attributes the increase in both outgoing and incoming data to CMS, DZero and Collider Detector at Fermilab collaborators actively moving data for analysis.

"Fermilab is one of seven Tier-1 sites for the CMS experiment, and over the last 120 days, Fermilab has supplied three fourths of the data that has been sent to the Tier-2 sites," Crawford said.

Although the amount of incoming and outgoing data is growing quickly, Crawford said that the Computing Division has managed to stay "abreast or ahead" when it comes to infrastructure capacity.

Currently the external network capacity is 60 gigabits per second, while an average desktop computer's connection is one-tenth of a gigabit per second.

If upgrades are necessary, the infrastructure is already in place.

"We can add capacity at a low marginal cost," he said. "We would just send more different colors of light, different wavelengths, through our metropolitan optical fiber network to the Department of Energy's network interchanges in Chicago."

Rhianna Wisniewski, Fermilab

Rhianna Wisniewski is editor of Fermilab Today.

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