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University of Queensland receives high-performance data storage system

The University of Queensland (UQ) has received a new high-performance data storage fabric from DataDirect Networks (DDN) to facilitate easier access to data between its main campus and its off-site data centre.

The system uses DDN GRIDScaler parallel file system appliances integrated with IBM Spectrum Scale (built upon GPFS). This is all tied together by a new data storage fabric that has been rolled out by the Australian university. This data storage fabric, known as MeDiCI (the metropolitan data caching infrastructure) spans both the main campus and its off-site data centreKnown for its research in fields ranging from genetics and genomics to environmental engineering and water management, the University of Queensland facilitates collaborative partnerships with geographically dispersed researchers. Thus it is imperative that the university can share data with researchers across its various locations to integrate research capacity and accelerate time to discovery.

To support its research, the University uses QRIScloud, a high-capacity cloud storage node of the NCRIS national research infrastructure operated by QCIF. QRIScloud is located at the Polaris Data Center in Springfield, Australia, about 20 miles south of the university's St Lucia Campus. QRIScloud and the university’s data storage fabric are interconnected and designed to exchange stored data automatically. Before implementing the high-performance data storage fabric, exchanging data between QRIScloud and on-campus data centres was handled manually – an unnecessary complication that took time away from valuable research. 

‘The university’s researchers are making landmark discoveries in fields spanning human heritable disease, cancer, agriculture, and biofuels manufacture – and they depend on our IT team to provide them with the fastest, most efficient data storage and compute systems to support their data-heavy work,’ said David Abramson, University of Queensland Research Computing Center director. ‘Our IBM, SGI (DMF) and DDN-based data fabric allows us to deliver ultra-fast multi-site data access without requiring any extra intervention from researchers and helps us to ensure our scientists can focus their time on potentially life-saving discoveries.’ DDN has been partnered with IBM to develop its GPFS solution since 2007.

DDN offers IBM Spectrum Scale as an integrated part of its GRIDScaler high-performance NAS solutions. DDN GRIDScaler includes a wide range of features that expand on core IBM Spectrum Scale functionality, including in-storage processing that can reduce application latency by up to 50 per cent and tiering to DDN WOS Object Storage

The latest releases of GRIDScaler and IBM Spectrum Scale provides additional features and capabilities that include support for both Omni-Path and 100GigE. This is complemented by new archiving options that extend parallel file system storage to both local and remote object storage via DDN WOS and S3 targets, and new GUI options that simplify usability across a wide range of high-performance storage systems.

The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities, ranking in the world’s top universities as measured by key independent rankings. Across three campuses in South-East Queensland, more than 50,000 students study at UQ, including more than 13,800 postgraduates and approximately 12,600 international students from 140 countries. UQ has established nine research institutes, many with a multidisciplinary focus, and is a partner in the Translational Research Institute (TRI).


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