Creating a Research Cloud with Things You Already Have in Your Kitchen

With the introduction of many cheap or free online file storage and sharing platforms, primarily based in the U.S., NRENs worldwide are looking to provide differentiated online file storage products to add value to their existing network offerings. This effort is centring, in the U.S. on a commercial arrangement between Internet2 and Box, with the NREN essentially reselling commercial services offered by Box. A more in-house approach is taking shape at some European NRENs, with a focus on in-house developed products such Pithos+ being developed and deployed by GRNET. Under the auspices of other European NRENs such as SURFnet and indeed in Australia, at AARNet, a hybrid approach is emerging. AARNet and SURFnet are developing systems based on the open source ownCloud platform, which in AARNet’s case, it is anticipated, will be rolled out in 2013. AARNet is planning to roll out three nodes across Australia initially, while collaboration with the research compute and tools provider NeCTAR is expected to yield further benefits to the sector with additional nodes potentially being located on NeCTAR infrastructure. AARNet’s effort is underpinned by the development of OAuth modules to support integration between ownCloud and SAML2 federations which has been largely undertaken by SURFnet in the Netherlands. The service, dubbed cloudstor+, will give Australian researchers at AARNet connected institutions a considerable amount (100GB each at launch) of online storage, with the ability to access that storage either online via a web-portal or mobile device, or offline on a desktop or laptop computer via an installable, synchronising Windows, Linux or Mac OS client. A number of differentiating factors are considered critical to the success of an NREN operated cloud storage service, including high performance, localisation of data storage, pre-integrated authentication and authorisation, sector-ownership and the consolidation to a single platform for the purposes of data sharing. This discussion addresses the architecture of the system, differentiating factors and expands on a number of use cases from the sector.



  • Angus Griffin
  • Guido Aben

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Your storage cloud

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