Press release: UNINETT Sigma2 announces new storage infrastructure for research data

UNINETT Sigma2 AS has signed a contract with Silicon Graphics International Corp. (SGI), with Data Direct Networks (DDN) as a supplier, to acquire new storage resources for scientific research data.


The data infrastructure will be installed at the universities in Tromsø and Trondheim and is due to be operational in April 2017.


A critical tool for researchers

Modern research generates large amounts of data and require very large storage capacities. It is important for Norwegian researchers to have access to electronic infrastructure at a high international level in order to be competitive on the international arena, and a number of research groups will benefit greatly from the increase in storage capacity and new data-centric architecture.

The new infrastructure will provide new and innovative services to all scientific disciplines that require resources for secure storage, processing, publishing of research data or for searching digital databases and collections.

The infrastructure is of significant importance to climate research, medical research, physics and astronomy, bioinformatics (e.g. genome sequencing), language technology and materials science.


NIRD: scalable, reliable and flexible

The new data infrastructure, named NIRD (National Infrastructure for Research Data), will provide storage resources with yearly capacity upgrades, data security through geo-replication (data stored on two physical locations) and adaptable application services, multiple storage protocol support, migration to third-party cloud providers and much more. Alongside the national high-performance computing resources, NIRD forms the backbone of the national e-infrastructure for research and education in Norway, connecting data and computing resources for efficient provisioning of services.

The national e-infrastructure is adopting a data-centric architecture and the new storage system from SGI/DDN marks the beginning of a new era. The demands for performance are significantly increased for NIRD, compared to its predecessor Norstore, due to the fact the new HPC systems and future on-demand services such as data analytics and visualization now will be directly connected to the storage infrastructure.


Technical specifications

The NIRD storage system delivered by Silicon Graphics International Corp. (SGI) in conjunction with Data Direct Networks (DDN) consists of SFA14K controllers, 10TB NL-SAS drives with a total capacity of 12PiB in addition to a centralized file system (IBM GridScaler) supporting multiple file, block and object protocols. The contract covering this investment will provide the storage infrastructure with resources for the next 4 – 5 years through multiple upgrades and is expected to triple in capacity during its life-time.


About UNINETT Sigma2

UNINETT Sigma2 is responsible for acquiring, operating and developing the national e-infrastructure
for computational science in Norway, and offers services in supercomputing and data storage.

UNINETT Sigma2 offers, in close collaboration with the University of Oslo, University of Bergen,
University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway and the Norwegian University of Science and
Technology (NTNU), an attractive and sustainable e-infrastructure and leading-edge services to
research and higher education in Norway.

Annual costs of investment and operation of national e-infrastructure are on average 100 million to
120 million NOK and are funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and the four universities.

UNINETT Sigma2 also leads and coordinates the Norwegian participation in international
partnerships within e-infrastructure.


About SGI:

SGI is a global leader in high-performance solutions for compute, data analytics and data
management that enable customers to accelerate time to discovery, innovation and profitability.
Visit ( for more information.


About DDN:

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is the world’s leading big data storage supplier to data-intensive, global



For more information please refer to
Andreas O. Jaunsen, Special Advisor
tel.: 99 59 88 00

Press release PDF - English
Pressemelding PDF - Norsk