The SSC will be conducted in multiple steps/phases:

  1. Team formation
  2. Team/Sponsor application deadline: 2024-08-31
  3. S^3 - Storage Summer School - Training by Vendors and GWDG: 2024-10-21 - 2024-10-24
  4. Kick-off and shared access: 2024-10-25 - 2024-11-01
  5. Exclusive access/campaign: 2024-11-04 - 2025-02-28
  6. Review/Rating: March 2025
  7. Reveal and discussion (SSC Teams + Organization): April 2025
  8. Results Presentation at BoF ISC: May 2025

The different steps are detailed below.

Team Formation and Application Preparation

To participate in the Scalable Storage Competition, the first step is to assemble a dedicated team of up to seven individuals. Each member should bring a unique set of skills and experiences to contribute to the project’s success. Your team composition should be well-balanced and cover the necessary technical areas.

Once your team is formed, appoint a team lead who will coordinate efforts, ensure effective communication, and represent the team during the competition. The team lead will play a crucial role in guiding the team and making strategic decisions.

Next, you’ll need to prepare a comprehensive application that presents your team’s capabilities and objectives. This application should include details about each team member’s technical background and experiences, illustrating their expertise in the field. Additionally, outline the organizational structure of your team, highlighting any affiliations with universities, departments, or sponsors that support your endeavor.

In your application, you should also propose the storage software and hardware systems you intend to utilize throughout the competition. Describe your strategies for both shared and exclusive access phases, providing a work plan and roadmap that outlines the steps you will take to optimize performance and meet the competition’s requirements.

Don’t forget to specify your preferred month for the exclusive system access, which constitutes the main phase of the competition. This choice should be based on your team’s availability and the most suitable timeline for executing your proposed plan effectively.

Application Deadline — 2024-08-31

Submit your application by this date. For details check SSC - Application Process

S^3 Storage Summer School — 2024-10-21 - 2024-10-24

Enhance your knowledge and skills in storage technologies by participating in the storage summer school. This educational event will offer in-depth sessions on various aspects of storage systems, covering both general concepts and specific solutions.

Kickoff and shared access — 2024-10-25 - 2024-11-01

Kickoff — 2024-10-25

Join the kick-off meeting, a pivotal event that marks the official beginning of your quest. This meeting is your chance to meet the dedicated organizing team and fellow competitors, fostering a collaborative spirit and setting the stage for the challenges ahead. To ensure a seamless start, the kick-off event features onboarding sessions tailored to administrative procedures. These sessions are designed to acquaint you with the necessary steps and processes, making your participation smooth and worry-free.

Throughout this phase, you will delve into the standard tasks that lie ahead, gaining a thorough understanding of the benchmarks, as well as a secret task that will challenge your team’s expertise during the competition.

An integral part of the kick-off is acquainting yourself with the Future-technology-platform (FTP) system. You’ll be given its hardware composition, information about the different infrastructure components and available operating system images and system software. Furthermore, information of the different setup and configuration options and procedures are given to ensure that you gain a comprehensive grasp of the system setup, which is crucial for effective planning and execution of the tasks.

The kick-off event will also include the allocation of exclusive access time frames for each team, enabling you to plan your work schedule accordingly.

Shared access to the Future Technology Platform (FTP) — 2024-10-25 - 2024-11-01

As you transition into the shared access phase of the Scalable Storage Competition, it’s crucial to make the most of this preparatory stage. Enter the FTP system’s shared mode to acquaint your team with the platform and lay the groundwork for the upcoming exclusive access phase. This time is invaluable for familiarizing yourself with the system, delving into its architecture, and uncovering any potential limitations that could affect your team’s performance.

During this phase, capitalize on the opportunity to configure compute nodes and storage servers, meticulously testing their functionality to guarantee optimal operation. Simultaneously, start preparing for the benchmarking campaign that will assess your team’s performance against other competitors. Documenting your setup processes as recipes or installation guides will not only ensure a reproducible workflow but also provide a valuable reference for future projects.

Throughout this phase, don’t hesitate to clarify any open questions or concerns, whether they are technical or organizational, with the competition organizers. Their guidance will be invaluable in refining your approach and maximizing your chances of success.

Exclusive access/campaign — 2024-11-04 - 2025-02-28

Upon entering the exclusive access phase of the Scalable Storage Competition, your team will be granted unparalleled access to the FTP. This unique opportunity allows you to leverage the full potential of the system without any restrictions or interference from other participants.

During the two-week period allocated for exclusive access, your team will execute the meticulously crafted work plan that you’ve outlined in your application. This is your chance to put your strategies into action, optimize system performance, and push the boundaries of what’s achievable in the realm of scalable storage solutions. You’ll have the freedom to configure resources, run demanding benchmarks, and fine-tune your storage software and hardware systems to deliver outstanding results.

Following the exclusive access phase, your commitment doesn’t end. Within a month after the conclusion of this critical period, your team is required to submit a comprehensive report documenting your findings, achievements, and any challenges encountered. This report serves as a testament to your team’s efforts and expertise, providing valuable insights into the performance of the system under your stewardship. It’s a crucial step in the competition process, ensuring that your hard work is recognized and contributing to the overall body of knowledge in the field of scalable storage.

Remember, your report should not only highlight the quantitative results of your benchmarks but also delve into the methodologies employed, the strategies used, and any lessons learned. This detailed account will enrich the competition’s objectives and support the continuous improvement of scalable storage solutions.

Review and Rating — March 2025

Be patient while the committee reviews and rates your results based on your report. This period should be used to start preparing for the next phase “Reveal and discussion”, where you will present and defend your work.

Reveal and discussion — April 2025

If not yet done you and your team should prepare a presentation for the further proceedings in this phase.

The teams will gather at an internal symposium to share findings, fostering collaboration and innovation in high-performance computing. This will be conducted in two stages:

  1. Presentation: Every team presents their results comprehensively. This also should include system setup, approach, issues, lessons learned etc. Questions by the audience should only concern the understanding/clarification of the according information.
  2. Challenging: Afterwards Like an interview, or a defense, the SSC committee and everyone who participates can ask questions regarding the execution and try questioning the correctness of the conducted results of the different teams. You have to defend your work in this stage.

Lastly the winning teams and a justification is presented by the committee. Furthermore, the teams to be invited to the ISC by the SSC committee will be announced.

ISC — May 2025

If your team performs exceptionally, you may be invited to the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC). Here you have the distinguished opportunity to present your results in a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session. This is your chance to showcase your team’s contributions to the field of scalable storage solutions to a worldwide audience of industry experts and professionals. To make the most of this opportunity, you’ll need to distill your work into a compelling narrative to enhance your visibility, possibly attract potential future collaborations or employers, and showcase your expertise to industry professionals.

The Scalable Storage Competition culminates with the announcement of the winners at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) 2025.