Monash University leverages cloud to connect researchers

Builds converged fabric around cloud and storage services

Higher education connectivity

Higher education connectivity

Monash University is strengthening its campus-wide communications network under a new project that leverages a fully-converged fabric for cloud and storage services.

Ranked in the top one per cent of world universities, Monash University has selected the solutions provider Mellanox Technologies to enhance its high-performance, end-to-end networking infrastructure.

This project will help manage network-intensive applications including networked storage or cluster computing. These apps need a network infrastructure that offers high bandwidth that is complemented by much lower latency.

Scalability

Steve Quenette, Monash University’s deputy director at its eResearch Centre, said a fully-integrated cloud platform enables researchers to match apps with more clearly-defined planning in the back-end. The goal is to integrate cloud services with high-performance computing and software.

Open ethernet platforms offer the flexibility and freedom to optimise the interconnect infrastructure, Quenette said. This infrastructure is better adapted to changing educational needs, including the fast growth in data, campus-wide computing and storage needs.

Connected researcher

Monash University’s cloud node, R@CMon, is part of the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources Project. This national project enhances research collaboration for higher education. The focus is to improve research workflows, make better use of multiple resources, and support a “connected researcher.”

Open access cloud platforms more readily connect desk-tops or bench-tops. This access is supported by a full suite of digitally-enabled data, as well as analytic and modelling resources. This information-exchange is more tailored for academic research.

Converged fabric

Since deploying a CloudX OpenStack cloud, Monash has expanded its remote direct memory access (RDMA) ethernet fabric. This RDMA fabric tightly integrates the free storage platform Ceph and the Lustre storage architecture. A single converged fabric meets the needs of block, object and applications workloads.

Blair Bethwaite, senior cloud architect at Monash’s eResearch Centre, noted that open ethernet switches offer the flexibility to mix and match capabilities. This is critical for the more dense computing architecture for higher education or academic research.

“Since integrating the Mellanox solutions, we have been able to achieve greater performance than ever before, Bethwaite said. “It was truly a quantum leap from our previous compute environment.”

The CloudX platform enables organisations and companies to build the most efficient private and public cloud infrastructure,” according to Kevin Deierling, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies.

He said CloudX takes advantage of Mellanox Open Ethernet switch solutions to enable faster data delivery. This platform has enabled Monash to build a cloud infrastructure that is highly scalable and adapts to new apps and services.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

Tags digital educationNational eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources ProjectCephLustre file systemOpenStack cloudsopen accesscampus cloudMonash UniversityMellanox TechnologiesRDMA

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