NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

Nicholas Balthaser

Nick Balthaser
Nicholas Balthaser
Storage Systems Analyst
Storage Systems Group
Phone: (510) 486-6427
Fax: (510) 486-6459
1 Cyclotron Road
Mailstop: 59R4010A
Berkeley, CA 94720 us

Biographical Sketch

Nick joined the Storage Systems Group in 2007. His responsibilities include system design, deployment, and DevOps support for hundreds of petabytes of active archival storage. Prior work at NERSC includes Linux compute platform and Center infrastructure support in the Computational Systems and Infrastructure Services groups.


Nicholas Balthaser, Tape Library Incident Management, 2023 HPSS User Forum, October 28, 2023,

A look at how the NERSC HPSS Team handles off-hours tape library incidents.

Nicholas Balthaser, Rosario Martinez, Current HPSS Projects 2023, LLNL HPSS DevOps Quarterly Telecon, May 11, 2023,

A look at current HPSS operational and development projects at NERSC, as of May 2023.

Nicholas Balthaser, Rosario Martinez, HPSS Software Development at NERSC, NERSC Software Engineering Group, May 4, 2023,

Overview of NERSC software development efforts for the High Performance Storage System (HPSS)

Nicholas Balthaser, Francis Dequenne, Melinda Jacobsen, Owen James, Kristy Kallback-Rose, Kirill Lozinskiy, NERSC HPSS Site Update, 2021 HPSS User Forum, October 20, 2021,

Nicholas Balthaser, NERSC HPSS - ASCR Update, NERSC-9 IPT Weekly Meeting, June 28, 2021,

A look at the NERSC storage hierarchy with a focus on long-term high-capacity storage.

Nicholas Balthaser, Wayne Hurlbert, Melinda Jacobsen, Owen James, Kristy Kallback-Rose, Kirill Lozinskiy, NERSC HPSS Site Update, 2020 HPSS User Forum, October 9, 2020,

Report on recent projects and challenges running HPSS at NERSC, including recent AQI issues and upcoming HPSS upgrade.

Nicholas Balthaser, Damian Hazen, Wayne Hurlbert, Owen James, Kristy Kallback-Rose, Kirill Lozinskiy, Moving the NERSC Archive to a Green Data Center, Storage Technology Showcase 2020, March 3, 2020,

Description of methods used and challenges involved in moving the NERSC tape archive to a new data center with environmental cooling.

Nicholas Balthaser, Wayne Hurlbert, Long-term Data Management in the NERSC Archive, NITRD Middleware and Grid Interagency Coordination (MAGIC), February 5, 2020,

Description of data management practices contributing to long-term data integrity in the NERSC Archive.

Nicholas Balthaser, Wayne Hurlbert, Kirill Lozinskiy, Owen James, Regent System Move Update, NERSC All-to-All Meeting, December 16, 2019,

Update on moving the NERSC center backup system from the Oakland Scientific Facility to LBL Building 59.

Nicholas Balthaser, Kirill Lozinskiy, Melinda Jacobsen, Kristy Kallback-Rose, NERSC Migration from Oracle tape libraries GPFS-HPSS-Integration Proof of Concept, October 16, 2019,

NERSC updates on Storage 2020 Strategy & Progress, GHI Testing, Tape Library Update, Futures

Nicholas Balthaser, Tape's Not Dead at LBNL/NERSC, MSST 2019 Conference, May 21, 2019,

Lightning talk on archival storage projects at NERSC for 2019 MSST conference.

Nicholas Balthaser, NERSC Tape Technology, MSST 2018 Conference, May 16, 2018,

Description of tape storage technology in use at NERSC for 2018 MSST conference.

NERSC site update focusing on plans to implement new tape technology at the Berkeley Data Center. 

NERSC Site Report focusing on plans for migration of tape-based system to new location and new technology, and collection of metrics for GPFS.

Lisa Gerhardt, Jeff Porter, Nick Balthaser, Lessons Learned from Running an HPSS Globus Endpoint, 2016 HPSS User Forum, September 1, 2016,

The NERSC division of LBNL has been running HPSS in production since 1998. The archive is quite popular with roughly 100TB IO every day from the ~6000 scientists that use the NERSC facility. We maintain a Globus-HPSS endpoint that transfers over 1PB / month of data into and out of HPSS. Getting Globus and HPSS to mesh well can be challenging. This talk gives an overview of some of the lessons learned.

Nicholas Balthaser, Lisa Gerhardt, NERSC Archival Storage: Best Practices, Joint Facilities User Forum on Data-Intensive Computing, June 18, 2014,

Nick Balthaser, NERSC; Lisa Gerhardt, NERSC, Introduction to NERSC Archival Storage: HPSS, February 3, 2014,

N. Balthaser, LBNL/NERSC Site Report: HPSS in Production, HUF 2013, November 5, 2013,

Overview of HPSS infrastructure and practices at LBNL/NERSC for 2013 HPSS Users Forum meeting.

N. Balthaser, GlobusOnline/HPSS Live Demo, HUF 2013, November 5, 2013,

Live demonstration using the GlobusOnline data transfer software to store files to the NERSC archive for 2013 HPSS Users Forum meeting.

N. Balthaser, W. Hurlbert, T10KC Technology in Production, May 9, 2013,

Report to 2012  Large Tape User Group meeting regarding our production statistics and experiences using the Oracle T10000C tape drive.

N. Balthaser, J. Hick, W. Hurlbert, StorageTek Tape Analytics: Pre-Release Evaluation at LBNL, LTUG 2012, April 25, 2012,

A report to the Large Tape Users Group (LTUG) annual conference on a pre-release evaluation of the new software product, StorageTek Tape Analytics (STA).  We provide a user's perspective on what we found useful, some suggestions for improvement, and some key new features that would enhance the product.


GK Lockwood, D Hazen, Q Koziol, RS Canon, K Antypas, J Balewski, N Balthaser, W Bhimji, J Botts, J Broughton, TL Butler, GF Butler, R Cheema, C Daley, T Declerck, L Gerhardt, WE Hurlbert, KA Kallback-Rose, S Leak, J Lee, R Lee, J Liu, K Lozinskiy, D Paul, Prabhat, C Snavely, J Srinivasan, T Stone Gibbins, NJ Wright, "Storage 2020: A Vision for the Future of HPC Storage", October 20, 2017, LBNL LBNL-2001072,

As the DOE Office of Science's mission computing facility, NERSC will follow this roadmap and deploy these new storage technologies to continue delivering storage resources that meet the needs of its broad user community. NERSC's diversity of workflows encompass significant portions of open science workloads as well, and the findings presented in this report are also intended to be a blueprint for how the evolving storage landscape can be best utilized by the greater HPC community. Executing the strategy presented here will ensure that emerging I/O technologies will be both applicable to and effective in enabling scientific discovery through extreme-scale simulation and data analysis in the coming decade.

N. Balthaser, D. Hazen, "HSI Best Practices for NERSC Users", May 2, 2011, LBNL 4745E,


In this paper we explain how to obtain and install HSI, create a NERSC authentication token, and transfer data to and from the system. Additionally we describe methods to optimize data transfers and avoid common pitfalls that can degrade data transfers and storage system performance.