Sep 25 2017
Data Center

University of Alabama at Birmingham Secures Research Data with Red Hat

A new storage solution lets researchers focus on what they do best instead of IT.

For the University of Alabama at Birmingham, research is a $500 million per year expenditure, so it’s critical that information is stored in a way that works for everyone while remaining secure.

UAB, which conducts research in areas such as engineering, statistical genetics and genomics, chose Red Hat Ceph Storage for its expanding storage needs because of the solution’s flexibility.

“The ability to scale our storage, to unleash the full intellectual capital of our faculty, researchers, students and clinicians without regard to storage, is a dramatic step forward,” says Curtis A. Carver Jr., the university’s vice president and CIO, in a press release. “We have truly changed the conversation about storage, enabling innovation that is not limited by capacity barriers.”

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Software-Defined Storage Adds Capacity Securely

Using Red Hat Ceph Storage, UAB researchers can store large data sets and enable data analytics without needing hands-on management. Because of its software-defined capabilities, Ceph is scalable, able to add capacity as needed in a cost-effective manner.

David Egts, chief technologist of Red Hat’s North American public sector, says Ceph Storage limits the amount of shadow IT that can emerge when researchers try to add storage on their own.

“It’s really easy to screw up if you’re not an IT professional. The storage is a researcher’s crown jewel,” he says. “If you do all this research and you misconfigure your storage, that’s really bad.”

With more universities being targeted for data breach attacks — a recent report found breaches in the education sector up 100 percent — having a trusted and secure solution for storage is just as important as efficiency.

In addition to adding capacity to accommodate growing storage needs, the new software-defined storage solution is compatible with cloud computing models and open-source software.

Also, by not having to worry about the difficulty of storage — the Red Hat solution is easily managed by UAB’s central IT — researchers can focus on more innovative work, like finding a cure for cancer.

“Our mission is information to change the world,” says Carver. “We are confident that our systems can manage the large amounts of data from UAB researchers, as well as accommodate our future storage needs.”

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