CERN has just upped its data storage to a frankly ridiculous number we didn't even know existed

CERN data storage center
(Image credit: CERN)

Scientific research institute CERN now has more than one exabyte of storage capacity in its data store.

In an official announcement, the organization noted the one million terabytes of disk space is used for LHC physics data as well as other types of data collected by CERN, including experiments and general online services.

The 2023 all-time high of 1,024 petabytes represents a 39% year-on-year increase, following a capacity of 735 petabytes in 2022.

CERN has one million terabytes of storage

Unsurprisingly, the majority of CERN’s storage is provided by HDDs, however the institute noted that a growing number of SSDs are being deployed.

Cloud storage company Backblaze recently shared the latest figures, suggesting that SSDs are continually performing well and are more reliable than HDDs. It’s worth noting that there are some drawbacks, for example the higher price of an SSD compared with an HDD, which means that a full SSD setup is neither required nor practical.

CERN said: “Having such a large number of commodity devices means that component failures are common, so the store is built to be resilient, using different data replication methods.”

It added that its disks “are orchestrated by CERN’s open-source software solution, EOS, which was created to meet the LHC’s extreme computing requirements.”

EOS Project Leader Andreas Peters said that the huge growth in storage is in preparation for CERN’s upcoming LHC heavy-ion run.

Joachim Mnich, CERN Director for Research and Computing, added: “This achievement marks the accomplishment of a significant target in data-handling capabilities.”

Today’s storage capacity represents a colossal 3,100% increase over what CERN had around a decade ago in 2012, at 32 petabytes.

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