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Date: Feb 06, 2019

New service at the HRZ: HiCap storage service. With the new storage service, institutes can obtain larger quantities of storage space in return for a share of the costs. Students can also use the service in justified cases as part of their final thesis.

Again and again we are asked whether it is not possible to provide larger contingent of memory for storing data. The previous storage services "FSI" and "Sciebo" are unfortunately not always able to meet these requirements due to special data protection requierements or physical storage space limitations.

The HiCap storage service should fill this gap until the introduction of a new research data memory system. In the first expansion stage we have a total of 120 TB, which we offer in 10TB packages up to 40 TB (20 TB for student theses). The prices are quite moderate: for 10TB we charge 150€ in cost sharing per year, students get the memory for theses under certain conditions for a limited time free of charge.

We are flexible when it comes to access. The HiCap storage is available via NFS, SMB/CIFS or directly via web interface.

However, we have to make some compromises with regard to availability. We can only administer the service with low priority, which is the reason why we cannot guarantee 100% availability. On Wednesdays, for example, we need a maintenance window in which we can restart the storage system for updates, which is why it is sometimes unavailable for a few minutes. We can also only solve problems (which hopefully will not occur) with low priority, so that problem solutions can sometimes take a long time.

Nevertheless, the HiCap system is of course not cheap hardware. We operate the storage as a highly available RAID6 array with a redundancy of 2 disks, so de facto 3 disks would have to fail before the data is in danger. A scenario that is highly unlikely, especially as we use industrial hard disks of a proven generation for reliability reasons. However, an optional TSM backup on tape is planned in the near future, but will have to wait until our tape robot moves to our secondary machine room.

For this reason, we regard the HiCap application area rather in the medium-term of storage, which should not be highly available, but stored reliably.



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