Migrating from Lustre FS to IBM Storage Scale (GPFS)

In this article we tell you how we migrated in SIXE HPC environments from LUSTRE to GPFS, well, now called IBM Storage Scale (and not long ago Spectrum Scale). As you know, High-Performance Computing (HPC) environments play a critical role in scientific research, engineering and innovation in a wide variety of fields. To take full advantage of the potential of these infrastructures, an efficient, high-performance storage system is essential. One of the most widely used parallel file systems in HPC environments is Lustre FS, but sometimes migrating to more advanced and versatile solutions becomes a necessity. In this article, we will explore the migration process from Lustre FS to IBM Storage Scale (formerly known as GPFS) in an HPC infrastructure composed of hundreds of compute nodes with internal or external storage, connected to a high-performance network, such as InfiniBand or 10G Ethernet.

Why migrate to IBM Storage Scale (GPFS)?

IBM Storage Scale, formerly known as GPFS (General Parallel File System), is a highly scalable and robust parallel file system designed for high-performance applications, including HPC environments. As storage and performance needs continue to grow in HPC environments, migrating to a solution like IBM Storage Scale can offer significant benefits:

  1. Scalability: IBM Storage Scale can scale horizontally to accommodate an increase in the amount of data and compute nodes seamlessly. This is essential in HPC environments where workloads can be extremely storage demanding.
  2. High performance: IBM Storage Scale is designed for high read and write performance, making it ideal for HPC applications that require fast and efficient access to large data sets.
  3. Stability and security: IBM Storage Scale is known for its reliability and security. It offers fault tolerance features that ensure the availability of critical data at all times. Data that can be protected with encryption when necessary.
  4. Integration with HPC environments: IBM Storage Scale integrates well with high-performance networks used in HPC environments, such as InfiniBand or 10G Ethernet, simplifying the transition.
  5. Support: SIXE provides ongoing support and maintenance for Storage Scale, ensuring that your storage system is backed by a company with over 20 years of experience in this technology. We do this through IBM, of which we are a value-added business partner.
  6. Easier architecture to deploy, scale and maintain. For us, this is the key point that makes us recommend to undertake this migration. Lustre FS from a certain scale becomes complex to manage, monitor and update, while GPFS works perfectly in 90% of the scenarios with few additional adjustments.

Planning the migration from Lustre FS

Migrating a parallel file system in an HPC infrastructure is a complex and critical task that requires careful planning. Here are some key steps to consider:

  1. Requirements assessment: Before beginning the migration, it is essential to understand the storage and performance requirements of your HPC workload. This will help determine the optimal IBM Storage Scale configuration. We need to understand the use cases and the specific needs of the environment. Also those points where Lustre FS worked particularly well or poorly :)
  2. Architecture design: We design the best possible architecture for IBM Storage Scale taking into account the topology of your high-performance network, storage and compute node distribution. This should be done in a manner that minimizes or eliminates downtime during migration. It is in this phase where we will decide whether to use IBM COS (Cloud Object Storage), ESS (Elastic Storage) or Spectrum Scale (GPFS) deployed directly on the storage servers, compute, or both.
  3. Data preparation: We make sure your data is organized and ready for migration. This may involve cleaning up unwanted data or reorganizing existing data.
  4. Development environment testing: Before migration to production, we perform extensive testing in a development environment to identify potential issues and adjust the configuration as needed.
  5. Hot migration planning: We determine the best time to perform the live migration, minimizing the impact on HPC operations. This may require scheduling the migration during periods of low activity. Storage Scale has several functionalities that enable a non-stop migration of environments. This is essential as data movement can take days to complete.
  6. Migration execution: We carry out the migration following the elaborated plan. This may include data transfer and IBM Storage Scale configuration.
  7. Testing and validation: We perform extensive testing to ensure that all data has been successfully migrated and that the new storage system meets performance requirements.
  8. Training: We provide training to users and IT staff to enable them to adapt to the new file system.
  9. Ongoing maintenance and support: Develop an ongoing maintenance plan to ensure that your storage system performs optimally over time.


Migrating from Lustre FS to IBM Storage Scale (formerly GPFS) in an HPC infrastructure can be a challenging but rewarding task. In doing so, research centers and organizations can take advantage of a highly scalable, reliable and high-performance parallel file system. However, thorough planning, testing and proper training are critical to ensure a successful migration and minimize any disruption to HPC operations.

If you are considering a migration to IBM Storage Scale, we offer you to do it in close collaboration with SIXE. We are storage experts and specialist HPC consultants to ensure that the transition is as smooth and effective as possible. With the right approach and the right investment of time and resources, you can significantly improve the ability of your HPC infrastructure to support high-performance research and applications in the future.

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