Australian schools to build distributed storage grid

Researchers from four universities have started work on the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded data grid storage infrastructure for e-research (DSIeR) project to help facilitate data accessibility.

The DSIeR Project is a collaboration between the University of Queensland, Australian National University (ANU), Monash University, and James Cook University. The project initially received A$800,000 (US$601,880) in funding to "provision and explore" issues surrounding a data storage backbone physically distributed between Townsville, Brisbane, Canberra, and Clayton in Victoria.

In a statement announcing the project, ARC believes while the underlying computing and network requirements are well resourced, data storage capacity has been "relatively neglected" in Australia.

"A continuing problem in Australian research communities is the absence of coordinated digital storage resources [and] computational and experimental data are [often] stored on ad hoc resources [like] local university servers, PC disc drives, CDs, or DVDs, and are not generally accessible," the statement read. "The central goal of this proposal is to provide a long-term, integrated scientific data storage capacity for Australia."

The Monash component of the project recently commissioned 60TB disk capacity plus and plans to add 160TB tape robot storage later this year.At the ANU, the project is in conjunction with the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC).

APAC's information infrastructure coordinator, Dr Ben Evans said the project will look at better ways to manage and coordinate data for accessibility, high speed transfers, and provide opportunities for further research and analysis.