Polaris Data Centre

18/12/2020

QCIF will be hard at work over the holiday season replacing ageing QRIScloud data storage hardware with the latest technology to create a bigger, better, faster service for researchers. 

This will be QRIScloud’s largest storage upgrade since it began providing cloud compute and cloud storage services in 2012.

Data collections on QRIScloud will be inaccessible between 5pm (AEST), Thursday, 24 December 2020, to 9am (AEST) Monday, 4 January 2021, while the hardware changeover takes place. This includes the sharing of data collections to any of QCIF’s compute services, both cloud compute and any of the high-performance compute clusters. QCIF’s cloud compute services will remain operational during this period.

Notifications have been sent to QRIScloud users to inform them of the shutdown and to assure them their data will remain safe. 

The new QRIScloud hardware will provide the QCIF technical team with more flexibility on what back-end storage systems can be used and will remove capacity constraints. It will also integrate more seamlessly with the MeDiCI data fabric, particularly around knowing if files are offline. MeDiCI is used for ultra-fast data transfers and is located at both The University of Queensland and James Cook University. 

QCIF will work with UQ and JCU to replace QRIScloud’s existing hierarchical storage management (HSM) system, which is nearing its end-of-life. 

The bulk of the work will take place at the highly secure Polaris Data Centre in Springfield, where the QRIScloud hardware is housed. 

The team will work closely with the technology vendor throughout the installation process.

“Our goal is to aggregate and minimise interruptions, where possible. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this work may cause, and for any service interruptions you may have recently experienced as a result of the ageing QRIScloud infrastructure,” said Stephen Bird, QCIF’s Shared Infrastructure Services Manager. 

While the upgrade takes place, all access to QRIScloud data collections will be disabled. This includes:

  • SSH/SFTP/SCP to data via data.qriscloud.org
  • NFS access to data on Virtual Machines running on QRIScloud
  • Collections on the Awoonga, FlashLite, Tinaroo and Wiener high-performance compute clusters.

This work precedes an additional project to refresh the national cloud computing network for research. QCIF and its New South Wales-based counterpart, Intersect, will provide new infrastructure for the Australian Research Data Commons’ (ARDC) Nectar Research Cloud. (see our previous article about this work).