SGI and LightSand Offer Transcontinental Shared Data Access

Tuesday Dec 3rd 2002 by Wayne Kawamoto

A combined SGI and LightSand offering now provides instant access to terascale data via a high-speed multi-operating-system file system over a WAN. SGI CXFS enables multiple computers running different operating systems to access a single shared 64-bit file system within a SAN or WAN.

SGI and LightSand last week announced a partnership to provide instant access to terascale data. The two companies successfully tested a high-speed multi-operating-system shared file system over a WAN.

This functionality will enable geographically distributed organizations to collaborate and combine large-scale, multiplatform computational, and storage resources. The solution provides the capability to solve very large and complex problems in energy, manufacturing, the sciences, government, and defense.

Based on the SGI CXFS shared file system technology and using LightSand S-600 SONET gateways, the companies demonstrated unprecedented data sharing capabilities in a single shared file system environment over a simulated distance of up to 8,000 km (4,971 miles). This accomplishment will provide geographically unlimited high-speed data-sharing capabilities, enhancing workflow, increasing productivity, and reducing costs in data- intensive environments by eliminating file duplication and the time it takes to move large files over the network, and across campus, the country, and ultimately around the world.

A geographically distributed Fibre Channel SAN with shared files is unprecedented, according to SGI. It allows users to share a single file system in a multi-OS environment over great distances, delivering fast unified access for data-intensive workflows while maintaining data integrity. This long-distance SAN technology addresses two fundamental challenges of data management: fast access to common information for geographically separate systems and seamless integration of multiple operating systems.

By linking multiple geographically distributed organizations into one overall SAN spread over a wide area network, an organization can improve its workflow on a global basis and use its storage capacity more effectively. To the user, the data appears to still be accessed from one shared file system, even though the data is actually being accessed from a significant distance.

SGI CXFS also enables multiple computers running different operating systems -- Sun Solaris, SGI IRIX, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 -- to directly access a single shared 64-bit file system within a SAN and a WAN.

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