Imperial College Protects Vital Research Data With Software-Defined Storage Infrastructure Using ArcaStream and Excelero

Integrates new & legacy resources into a unified, efficient, high
performance storage resource; shared NVMe storage at local performance
enables easy scalability without hardware lock-in

and Excelero,
leaders in scale-out software-defined storage, said that their solutions
were part of a new software-defined storage deployment at Imperial
College London
, one of the world’s leading university research
centres for science, engineering, medicine and business. By moving to a
single high-performance storage infrastructure that integrates legacy
and new resources, Imperial College London reduced storage complexity,
increased agility in managing capacity and performance, and gained
significant ROI. Backed by its new system, the university also improved
usability, enacted a simpler and more cost-effective charge back policy,
and embraced a future-proof approach to staying ahead of the continual
multi-petabyte per year growth of their data holdings.

Expansion in Imperial College London’s Research Computing Services over
the past decade had resulted in over 30 separate and independently
managed islands of storage – silos that were difficult to access, manage
and use. The group needed to enable researchers to access data with ease
and speed, so they remain solely focused on their research projects –
while integrating legacy and future compute systems and managing data
throughout its life-cycle in line with stringent regulatory compliance

The new Research Data Store (RDS) is built around ArcaStream
, a high-performance scalable storage platform based on IBM
Spectrum Scale™ parallel file system, which combines flash, disk, tape,
and cloud storage into a single global name space. The infrastructure is
geographically dispersed with a 5PB storage repository at a primary site
and a secondary site for disaster recovery, served by PixStor with
asynchronous replication and intelligent tiering to external storage
targets. RDS also includes Excelero’s
, software that enables the sharing of NVMe Flash storage
resources across any network and supports any local or distributed file
system. NVMesh provides a scalable NVMe tier for extreme metadata
performance. Users benefit from the performance of local flash with the
convenience of centralized storage while reducing the overall storage
total cost of ownership.

With this new robust infrastructure, Imperial College London’s RDS now
simultaneously serves 2,000 existing HPC nodes and over 3,000 users
seamlessly, with 20GB/s of throughput with no loss of interactive user

“The usability of the systems for interactive use in particular has
improved significantly,” explains Matthew Harvey, RDS project lead and
RCS Manager at Imperial College. “Previously, there were frequent
interruptions to interactive use because the file system load for some
compute jobs effectively squeezed out users. Users would log into the
system, type in their search criteria but it could take more than 10
seconds to respond. Now that is a thing of the past.”

The new RDS supports a charge-back strategy where researchers cost-out
storage as services on their grants – instead of charging users based on
reserve capacity. More effective management of storage capacity also
allowed the College to avoid costly additions. The ArcaStream platform
provides tools and insight needed to understand the access patterns of
data on the file system for each project allocation. “This information
governance is enabling us to store valuable data more intelligently and
economically,” Imperial College London’s Matthew Harvey continued.

Excelero and ArcaStream will showcase the performance and efficiency of
their solutions at the ISC High Performance Event 2019, June 16-20 in
Frankfurt in Excelero’s booth E-1039. For more information, visit

About ArcaStream

ArcaStream Ltd was formed in 2012 and features the most experienced
independent team of scale-out storage and networking experts in the UK.
ArcaStream delivers bespoke scale-out storage and data management
solutions designed exclusively for the needs of research and simulation

By providing its customers with a hardware-agnostic strategic platform
for growth, ArcaStream enables organisations to efficiently and
granularly manage data storage costs as demands fluctuate and
requirements change, without being tied to any particular storage
hardware manufacturer. As a result, procurement departments are able to
make decisions based on best value metrics at the time of expansion,
without any disruption to the business and its users.

About Excelero

Excelero delivers low-latency distributed block storage for web-scale
applications such as AI, machine learning and GPU computing. Founded in
2014 by a team of storage veterans and inspired by the Tech Giants’
shared-nothing architectures for web-scale applications, the company has
designed a software-defined block storage solution that meets the
low-latency performance and scalability requirements of the largest
web-scale and enterprise applications.

Excelero’s NVMesh enables shared NVMe across any network and supports
any local or distributed file system. Customers benefit from the
performance of local flash with the convenience of centralized storage
while avoiding proprietary hardware lock-in and reducing the overall
storage TCO. NVMesh is deployed by major web-scale customers, for data
analytics and machine learning applications and in Media & Entertainment
post-production and HPC environments.

Follow us on Twitter @Excelerostorage, on LinkedIn
or visit us at to
learn more.


Tom Leyden
Vice President of Corporate Marketing
Mobile US +1
818 919 8478

Melanie O’Brien
Director of Marketing, ArcaStream
+44 (0) 7375

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EMEA Media Contact (A3 Communications)
(0) 1252 875 203

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US Media Contact
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