IT Infrastructure

LDC's IT infrastructure is a comprehensive, autonomous and internally-managed system within the University of Pennsylvania's infrastructure, permitting the modularity and flexibility required to match LDC needs. In particular, the infrastructure is elastic by design so that its size and capacity can seamlessly adjust to LDC projects operations and needs. Storage-as-a-Service allows projects to acquire exactly the amount of space they need, immediately ready for use, managed with comprehensive backup and disaster recovery while benefitting from economies of scale using techniques such as thin provisioning and storage virtualization. Computation-as-a-Service permits the instant creation of virtual servers with all the software needed, with the ability to scale memory and CPU without the need to deploy new hardware and with redundancy and service continuity that would be extremely expensive to achieve if based on physical machines. Finally, each project can track its resource demands with fine granularity allowing greater efficiency and cost containment.

Key IT infrastructure features are:

  • In-house Storage-as-a-Service flexibly integrating heterogeneous storage solutions as appropriate (e.g. directly attached storage, NAS, iSCSI, and fibre channel-based SAN)
    • More than 200TB currently online with the capability to scale up to Petabytes rapidly and transparently
    • Comprehensive backup, disk replication and disaster recovery combining multiple on-site servers and cloud based solutions
    • Restricted access storage area
  • In house Compute-as-a-Service with multitiered service model, physically distributed compute nodes, separate staging and production tiers
  • Redundant SQL database tier for production; Database-as-a-Service tier for staging under development
  • More than 300 Gigabit switched ports on both public and private IP spaces with Internet and Internet 2 gateways and independent WiFi access to each
  • Standard authentication and authorization technologies with local management and customization
  • Real-time monitoring, alarming and trouble ticket processing tools
  • A helpdesk and support service for LDC staff and researchers
  • ~70 annotation workstations running different operating systems as needed (e.g. Linux, Windows and OSX) in four labs of varying size