One of the world’s leading life science research institutes announced today that it has chosen a COPAN Systems-based storage solution to meet its demanding data storage needs.

The Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) has a strong record of innovation in the molecular biology of disease.

Researching, developing, testing and delivering these medical breakthroughs require generating, analyzing and retaining huge quantities of data.

This critical data is not necessarily accessed regularly but must be kept instantly available at all times for crucial analysis.

Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland

Dean Flanders, head of informatics at FMI, said no other company on the market could match the COPAN Systems solution in such a demanding environment.

“Our competitive review found that no other system could provide this kind of high performance, scalability and cost-effectiveness to meet our persistent data needs," he said.

"This means we can provide fast access to a vast amount of data in a very small footprint.”

Located in Basel, Switzerland, a large proportion of FMI’s life science data is generated from microscopy, but new projects led the institute to seek a storage solution to support a wider range of data.

A single new piece of laboratory equipment can radically alter the organization’s storage needs.

For example, two new Illumina Genome Analyzers are each capable of producing up to two terabytes of data per week.

In this environment, FMI sought a cost-effective solution for backing up and restoring multi-terabyte file systems while coping with limited power, cooling and space resources.

The institute, part of the Novartis Research Foundation, needed to innovate beyond a traditional file server system which leaves too much persistent data on expensive tier one storage, straining existing infrastructure.

A traditional HSM system was out of the question since the high volume and file size of FMI’s life science data meant a tape system would present slow access rates, data integrity issues and no online access.

FMI was also concerned about pressure on space, power and cooling resources as their data production grows and their system scales.

To meet these challenges, FMI selected COPAN Systems’ disk-based Virtual Tape Library, because of its fast access times with the security and reliability of disk.

The new highly scalable tiered file system has almost no impact to the existing cooling and power infrastructure.

By migrating persistent data to the new COPAN Systems solution, FMI frees up more expensive tier one storage for its original purpose – modifying and storing quickly changing transactional data.

Some of the key benefits of the new system for FMI are:

  • Scalability: The system currently holds 40 terabytes of data but can scale in one rack to 896 terabytes without redesigning or changing cooling requirements.
  • Simplicity: By writing a file to FMI’s HSM file system within a defined period of time, the file can be automatically copied to the COPAN Systems MAID platform and another copy created to tape in a remote location as required.
  • Efficiency: COPAN Systems’ ultra-dense disk configurations are enhanced using Enterprise MAID technology. COPAN Systems powers off disks that have no outstanding IO requests, thus reducing power consumption by around 85 percent.

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