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Advanced Research Computing Center

University of Wyoming

Office of Research & Economic Development

Department 3355

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-7748

Email: arcc-info@uwyo.edu

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ARCC Deploys Cloud-like Storage Service Named Pathfinder

September 15th, 2020 - Named after one of Wyoming’s reservoirs on the North Platte River, Pathfinder is a low-cost storage solution that enables a Cloud-like presence for research data hosted by ARCC. The system is built to be expandable and provides data protection. Its core functionality is hosting onsite backups as well as enabling data sharing and collaboration.

Pathfinder uses the Simple Storage Service (S3) protocol originally developed by Amazon that they define as “storage for the Internet”. S3 on Pathfinder works on object storage through an open-source software Ceph, supported by Red Hat. This means this server is located in the University's data center and not in one of the many operated by Amazon. 

The Wyoming Geographic Science Center (WyGISC) has been an early adopter of Pathfinder. Nicholas Case, a Geospatial Developer at WyGISC uses the Internet accessible data storage on Pathfinder for the web-based geospatial applications he creates. “It absolutely saved the day for me. I am a huge fan. I was having trouble getting a place to store data that wasn't on the web server I was using. I was constantly running into permissions issues.” He describes when he and the other developers at WyGISC heard about Pathfinder, “We were dreading learning yet another new potentially complicated thing. In the past when some new technology we were told to use came along it was always a struggle to adapt. But with Pathfinder and using the S3 protocol, it was much easier than expected. It just worked the way the documentation said it would.” 

To use Pathfinder users need to use a client and Nicholas and his colleagues at WyGISC are no exception. “We found the documentation on the Ceph website and saw the C# examples and ran with it. We now can use Pathfinder to ingest, disseminate, and sometimes generate data from researchers using our apps. I do not know how I would be able to do my job without it these days.” 

Nicholas also mentioned that since Pathfinder is on-campus vs a public cloud it made them feel better about the support they could get from ARCC. “Security matters. I love the fact that there are people who I can email and help diagnose any issues we might be having.” 

Other roles Pathfinder is currently serving are 1) a separate backup location for researchers to use for additional copies of their data and 2) a partnership with UW Libraries to be the backend storage for published research data on Mountain Scholar. Any of these functions are open to anyone at UWyo, but typically a faculty member must serve as a PI. To request a Pathfinder Allocation please fill out the TeamDynamix form or email arcc-info@uwyo.edu for more information. 

To see what clients are available to use with Pathfinder or any additional information, please visit our Pathfinder Wiki page

Contact Us

Advanced Research Computing Center

University of Wyoming

Office of Research & Economic Development

Department 3355

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-7748

Email: arcc-info@uwyo.edu

ARCC logo
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1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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