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University of Pisa Chooses E4 Computer Engineering

Italian institution first customer of E4’s Ultrafast Storage, Totally Integrated (USTI) solution for high performance distributed block storage

E4 Computer Engineering S.p.A, a HPC Italian company, announces that University of Pisa will become the first customer of USTI (Ultrafast Storage, Totally Integrated), the new solution for distributed block storage, based on software-defined block storage Excelero NVMesh, Western Digital SSDs NVME  Ultrastar and Mellanox IB 200Gb/s network interfaces.

University Of Pisa Chooses E4 Computer Engineering

Data have the enormous potential to open a new world of business opportunities, but it is necessary rethinking how data are acquired, stored, accessed and transformed. We need to create a new approach for storage, which can offer speed, agility and longevity.

In this context, a zero-latency storage infrastructure is the solution. Having fast and efficient large-scale data processing is a must for performing solutions.

Aggregating performance local storage resources often leads to sub-optimal performance, to the point that the performance of the storage itself can be compromised and computational resources are used, thus slowing the entire system.

USTI enables aggregation of NVMe flash resources on multiple servers via the use of Excelero NVMesh without affecting the CPU, allowing to leave the computational resources dedicated for their main purpose: applications.

The number of nodes usable by USTI is scalable and expandable (from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 128), in accordance with the required performance growth. USTI can be implemented and used within the chosen architecture in a native format, or by providing block storage functionality, or in combination with the main parallel file systems.

The Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe is mainstream NVMe SSDs intended for a range of applications ranging from use as a cache, to primary storage in IT and cloud environments. It is optimized to provide performance and constant QoS read latency while performing random mixed workloads. It has, in fact, a latency of 85µs in the capacity of 1.6TB.

The USTI solution is equipped with Mellanox IB network cards, which have the dual purpose of reducing latency and increasing efficiency, improving security and simplifying automation in the data center, to allow applications to run faster. Excelero NVMesh is based on the patented Remote Direct Drive Access (RDDA), which allows direct access to data by clients, without overloading the CPU. RDDA is also available via RoCE interfaces (RDMA over Converged Ethernet).

USTI is the ideal solution for today’s infrastructures and applications, which need to have a latency close to zero,” says Cosimo Gianfreda, CTO, E4 Computer Engineering. “With USTI it is possible to maximize the performance of the entire infrastructure, using acceleration technologies synergistically, such as NVMe disks and NVMesh software, and thus optimizing the use of all available resources.”

The Green Data Center of the University of Pisa is implementing an innovative computing and storage architecture to support the new scientific computing workloads (ML/DL, data analytics, genomics, etc.),” says Maurizio Davini, CTO, University of Pisa. “USTI allowed us to complete the GPU Computing infrastructure in the best possible way and proved to be an ideal solution due to its ease of implementation and exceptional performance.

When designing USTI together with the E4 team, I was once more impressed by how professional and passionate the E4 team is about building innovative solutions of the highest quality. I am sure that customers will appreciate USTI for its game-changing performance and will thoroughly enjoy working with the E4 team to deploy and optimize their storage resources. E4 consistently designs the best solution for any given challenge,” said Sven Breuner, field CTO, Excelero.

We participated with great enthusiasm in the E4 Computer Engineering project for the new Green Data Center of the University of Pisa. The USTI solution fully meets the requirements that data center customers need in the current zettabyte era. Our Ultrastar DC SN640 is a perfect complement to this solution,” says Davide Villa, Emeai business development director, Western Digital. “The hardware and software components of a state-of-the-art data center solution such as USTI must interact intelligently and holistically to achieve optimal levels of performance and, together with E4 Computer Engineering and its partners, we have achieved this.