The University of Auckland (UoA) is gearing up for a sharp increase in traffic over its network thanks to a new supercomputer, housed at UoA, and through the August 2012 launch of a 439 square metre capacity second data centre.
The supercomputer is part of the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) project and will be used for research such as finding a cure for cancer, while the second data centre will complement an existing data centre hosting some 2,100 virtual machines.
The new data centre, based at the UoA's Tamaki Innovation campus in Auckland, will have space for 80 racks but the UoA has designed the facility so it can remove an internal wall and extend the building for increased capacity in the future. “That extension will take us to over 100 racks in the Tamaki data centre if the demand is there,” UoA operations associate director, James Harper, told Computerworld Australia.
In response to the anticipated demand on its network the university has implemented an new switching system.
According to Harper, the Juniper-based switching system, known as QFabric, was chosen for use in the data centres because of its low latency performance and scalability. UoA has worked with the vendor since 2010 when it deployed switches at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in Auckland.
The QFabric switching system will be deployed at UoA’s existing data centre in its city campus as well as the second data centre under construction at the Tamaki campus.
In addition to the switching sytem and data centre construction, the University has installed a 10 gigabit ethernet (GbE) connection, with plans to expand this to 100GbE within the next few years.
As well as working to increase network capacity, the network upgrade will also facilitate an upgrade in UoA’s disaster recovery capabilities because the university will now be able to backup data from its city-based data centre to its Tamaki campus.
“The business case [for the network upgrade] is also being built on the demand for high performance computing, not just within the university, but across the research and education sector in New Zealand,” Harper said.
“These high performance computing systems tend to be incredibly power hungry and require specialised cooling. The second data centre is being constructed with those requirements in mind.”
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