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Case Study – Swinburne University of Technology

Swinburne University of Technology is a public university based in Melbourne, Australia. Swinburne fosters close ties with industry, business and governmental organisations to help ensure that its degree programmes and research find practical applications.

Aptira teamed up with SUSE up to build a very high-performing and scalable storage landscape at a fraction of the cost than we would have been able to with traditional storage systems.


The Challenge

Scientists at Swinburne lead research that is transforming industries, broadening our understanding of the world, and improving lives. Advances in technology have vastly expanded the scope of the university’s research work, which now demands greater compute and storage resources.

The challenge for the IT team at Swinburne is how to accommodate this ever-growing need for performance and capacity while sticking to a tight budget. “We are always looking for ways to help our researchers work more effectively, which means giving them access to powerful and flexible IT resources,” said Simon Naughton, Director of Infrastructure and Operations at Swinburne. “One such example is the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) Cloud—a cloud platform for Australian researchers, built on OpenStack. NeCTAR Cloud would provide much-needed computing power to our scientists, without the need for us to operate our own servers. However, we had to deploy supporting storage infrastructure on-premises, as latency concerns and data-sharing restrictions prevented us from using a public cloud.”

Swinburne recognised that a softwaredefined approach to storage offered an ideal fit for its needs, as it could deliver high performance and scalability at significantly lower cost than a traditional storage infrastructure.

Naughton said, “We wanted to leverage Ceph, as it is the most commonly used storage for OpenStack. However, we didn’t have the in-house resources to support a Community Ceph platform, and most of the vendor-supported distributions we looked at were licensed on a capacity basis—meaning that as our data volumes grow, so too would the cost of our storage, which was unsustainable.”


The Aptira & SUSE Solution


The Result

A distributed storage cluster, SUSE Enterprise Storage provides virtually unlimited scalability—giving Swinburne the ability to easily expand storage resources as required. As SUSE Enterprise Storage runs on commodity server and storage hardware, it keeps Swinburne’s initial capital expenditure (CAPEX) and ongoing infrastructure costs low.

“With SUSE Enterprise Storage, we have built a very high-performing and scalable storage landscape at a fraction of the cost than we would have been able to with traditional storage systems,” said Naughton. “We avoid CAPEX-heavy hardware spending and a rigid cycle of hardware upgrades every few years; now, we can add capacity and performance at low cost, as and when needed. The project is able to deliver on premises storage at approximately half the cost of the equivalent public cloud providers’ service.”

With a fast, flexible storage platform in place, the IT team at Swinburne can support the needs of researchers more effectively. “SUSE Enterprise Storage helps IT be a better partner to research teams,” said Naughton. “We can deliver rapid, reliable storage, and guarantee the security and integrity of the data we store. With SUSE, we have found a compelling and affordable solution for supporting Swinburne’s storage needs, and we look forward to harnessing this platform to drive groundbreaking research for years to come.”


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