November 28, 2019

CNES’s Data Processing Centre increases capacity and reaches 15th place in IO500 world ranking

CNES, the French space agency, has this year extended the computing power of its Data Processing Centre and boosted the performance of its storage system.

The dual-precision peak performance rate is now 725 TFLOPS with the new GPUs, while on the storage side more than 70 Gbps of measured bandwidth is available and the platform has been clocked at several million operations per second. IO500 is an international benchmark standard managed by the Virtual Institute for I/O that measures bandwidth and input/output operations per second (IOps) using typical workloads observed on real systems. CNES’s computing platform was benchmarked against the IO500 standard and took 15th place in the world ranking unveiled this month.

CNES’s Data Processing Centre moved to its current location in the Galois building at the Toulouse Space Centre in 1994, since when it has undergone significant upgrades. Its computing resources were previously used chiefly to model complex physical phenomena, for example in the design of engines and other elements of launchers. Nowadays, while modelling is still an important part of what it does, the platform is used mainly for satellite mission simulations, to process data from satellite sensors and to exploit them for scientific purposes.

This year, 100 Lenovo SD530 nodes with 4,000 cores have been added to the Data Processing Centre, taking the total to 12,288 cores. The 8,288 existing cores are spread across 276 Lenovo NX360 M5 servers and 104 Dell C6220 servers. Special attention has been paid to GPU capacity, with 20 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPU cards and eight NVIDIA Tesla T4 GPU cards added to the four existing accelerators, used primarily to support the agency’s growing artificial intelligence (AI) needs. Storage volume has been increased by 2.3 PB and above all the storage architecture has been optimized with metadata stored on NVMe hardware, a 300-TB SSD disk positioned as a burst buffer and dedicated I/O servers. There is now 100 GB/s of theoretical bandwidth and several hundred thousand files can be created in one second. Total available volume is now 8.2 PB.

To validate this new architecture, the IO500 benchmark managed by the Virtual Institute for I/O was executed on the platform. CNES’s Data Processing Centre ranked 15th on the IO500 list released during the Super Computing 19 (SC19) exhibition and conference in Denver, Colorado, on 19 November.

Commenting on the ranking, Frédéric Pradeilles, CNES’s Director of Digital Technologies and Operations, said: “We are delighted with this success achieved by our teams. Besides the ranking, we are glad to be able to offer a better service to our partners and users. In particular, we are boosting our ability to develop artificial intelligence techniques and build them into space systems and mine the data they acquire.”

Learn more at:
Virtual Institute for I/O

About CNES
CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) is the government agency responsible for shaping France’s space policy and implementing it in Europe. Its task is to conceive and orbit satellites, invent the space systems of the future and nurture new services to aid us in our daily lives. Founded in 1961, it is the initiator of major space projects, launch vehicles and satellites, and the partner of choice for industry fuelling innovation. As the partner of several commercial firms, CNES is supporting strategic activities and working to develop new applications and uses of space, thus helping to sustain the French space ecosystem’s competitive edge. It also fosters scientific collaborations and is engaged in numerous international partnerships. France, represented by CNES, is the leading contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51