For decades, fusion was considered the stuff of science fiction, but in early 2014, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made headlines when it formally announced that record amounts of energy had been created through fusion. Using a laser 100 times more powerful than any other laser on Earth, NIF scientists can create conditions on Earth that once existed only in the center of stars.
Fusion is just one of many experiments taking place at NIF, which was built to sustain three missions: nuclear stockpile stewardship, energy science, and “basic” sciences such as experimental astronomy and astrophysics.
Massive quantities of data are essential to the success of NIF’s experiments, from experimental design through to execution and analysis. After the experiments comes the laborious task of sifting through the data to extract meaningful results and refine future experiments. NIF needed a way to provide scientists at NIF and around the world with rapid, uninterrupted access to critical data.
With a private cloud based on the NetApp® flash technology and NetApp clustered Data ONTAP® operating system, NIF has eliminated planned and unplanned downtime, reclaiming up to 60 hours of downtime per year for science and preventing costly delays. The secure multi-tenancy features of clustered Data ONTAP allow the NIF team to partition and protect sensitive data belonging to such users as the U.S. Department of Energy, the world’s most prestigious universities and laboratories, and scientists in the pursuit of the Nobel Prize. NIF combined clustered Data ONTAP with the strategic use of NetApp flash technologies to reduce latency by 97%. As a result, data can be available to scientists within 15 minutes after an experiment—sometimes faster.
With NetApp technology, NIF has been able to:
- Deliver nonstop, 24/7 availability for critical data.
- Cut planned downtime by 60 hours per year to maximize facility availability.
- Reduce latency by 97%.
- Increase the virtual storage footprint by 20% without performance degradation.
- Enable secure multi-tenancy to protect sensitive data.