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Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:21

Researchers win 100GB cloud storage

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Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) is planning to roll out a service which will allow researchers to store up to 100 Gbytes of data in the cloud by April next year.

Dubbed CloudStore Plus the service will be an adjunct to CloudStore, AARNet’s service for large data transfer. Chris Hancock, chief executive officer of AARNet, said that the organisation was working with Caudit (the Council of Australian University Directors of IT) as it scoped the service, and also wanted to partner with RDSI and NecTAR – the national cloud storage and computing platforms being developed for the university and research sector.

Mr Hancock said that he anticipated the volumes of data being generated and accessed by Australian researchers would continue to soar. In the year to date 25 petabytes of data has been transferred over the AARNet network.

He said that the advent of the Pathfinder radio telescope project in Western Australia, which is a forerunner of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project, was an indication of what lay ahead in terms of the nation’s need for infrastructure to support such initiatives.

“Physicists in Melbourne working with the large Hadron Collider will be extending (access) to more physicists in the Group of Eight (leading universities),” he said. Mr Hancock also expects a significant increase in the volumes of research traffic between local and international research institutions.

Over the last 12 months he said that AARNet traffic had increased 50 per cent overall – but the fastest growth was traffic between Australia and international institutions. He said that this class of traffic had grown 86 per cent during the last 12 months.

AARNet is also preparing for the changes that will accompany a shift to more online learning. The arrival of a slew of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from international and local universities is, he said, “A real game changer. “

“I attended at MOOC forum at the University of Melbourne. What was good was that it was not just the vice chancellors, but the deputy VCs of teaching and learning and the CIOs. They see the need for a joint vision,” said Mr Hancock.


While he said that Australia was at the experimentation phase with regard to MOOCs he acknowledged that the advent of MOOCs pointed to the need for: “A lot of availability of bandwidth at the home which is where the NBN comes in and why we are a reseller.”

AARNet is continuing to upgrade its own infrastructure as it continues to transition from the current AARNet 3 network to the faster AARNet 4. Mr Hancock said that there was no single launch date for the new network, but that it would be progressively rolled out.

The optical network he said was being upgraded to 100Gbps with Adelaide and Perth slated for the second quarter of the year with the Eastern seaboard to follow. A decision is expected in February regarding the supply of underlying technology.

By the end of the second quarter the “education blackspots” would be filled, he said.

The organisation is also planning a major push with its international activities. A member of TEIN – the Trans Eurasia Information Network which connects 18 research networks in Europe and Asia – Mr Hancock said that AARNet was working on increasing the capacity of the network from Perth to Singapore.

“At some point in 2013 one or two new cable systems will be built. We will be looking for funding for this,” he added.

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