New research group digital storage option offered to Purdue researchers

December 11, 2013

Faculty researchers who use Purdue’s community cluster supercomputers have a new group storage option for their research group’s data, results, applications, source code and anything else members of their lab or their collaborators may need to share.

Community cluster partners can request 500 gigabytes for their group at no additional cost by emailing rcac-help@purdue.edu. More space is available for purchase by the terabyte. For additional information visit the group storage website.

Researchers using the clusters have access to a variety of types of storage now, but none of it is geared to group use in the process of conducting research. Cluster users all have “home directory” storage, for example, but it is set up for single-user access.

Likewise, all Purdue faculty, staff and students have access to 100 gigabytes through ITaP’s BoilerBackpack system, which can be used for research as well as other storage purposes. However, BoilerBackpack accounts are, again, tied to single users.

The group storage system was inspired by the way faculty researchers typically prefer to set up access to a cluster for the members of their research lab.

“We’re just trying to fit their model,” says Kevin Colby, a senior scientific applications analyst for ITaP Research Computing (RCAC).

Community cluster faculty can manage the new shared storage for their research group and tailor access for their staff, post-docs, students and collaborators with the same kind of easy, graphical Web-based tool used to manage access to Purdue’s community clusters. The group storage is a new service being offered by ITaP Research Computing (RCAC), which operates the clusters well.

The new group storage system not only makes it easier for the Purdue Genomics Core Facility to share files among its staff and its collaborators, the resource also provides significantly more storage for the genomics facility, which has bought 50 terabytes and counting, at a cost-effective price.

“We are the only sequencing center on campus,” says Rick Westerman, bioinformatics specialist at the genomics facility. “We need a place where our staff and the researchers around campus who use our services can more directly access our files.”

The genomics facility had its own, much smaller group storage previously. But while that was fine for its staff, sharing sequencing results with campus collaborators typically involved transferring large chunks of data or labor-intensive permissions setting to allow access to files and directories on an individual basis.

Contact rcac-help@purdue.edu.

Originally posted: December 11, 2013