Australian Catholic University plans centralised storage push, thanks to AARNet

Paul Campbell, the Australian Catholic University’s Director of Information Technology, explains his plans for realtime data replication across the WAN.

The Australian Catholic University, an educational institution with almost 14,000 students, more than 3,000 staff and six campuses around Australia, is about to embark on a campaign to encourage its users to rely on centralised data storage infrastructure.

The University has relied on a pair of NetApp filers as its primary storage for four years and recently doubled the capacity of the devices with the insertion of additional disks. Outlying campuses use smaller NetApp boxes.

But the institution is now trying to encourage its staff to use centralised storage more often, to ease management duties. “We are introducing a more open approach to sharing network space,” says Paul Campbell, the University’s Director of Information Technology.

One of the changes the University has made is increasing the amount of storage allocated to staff Inboxes from 100 megabytes to unlimited storage. A move to electronic document storage is also on the cards, with SharePoint being deployed as a document management system and

“We are helping people to recognise the benefits of storing centrally so they can share more effectively with colleagues and know where the latest version of a document resides,” Campbell adds. “We are also encouraging staff to image documents and store them electronically.”

Campbell says the organisation is also “exploring options for disk-based backup,” with each campus sending data in real-time to the University’s Sydney headquarters (and disaster recovery site) thanks to its use of Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet).

“We are currently moving our last few campuses onto one gigabit per second fibre on AARNet. Without a partner like AARNet it would be very challenging having interstate replication, but the comfort level it provides for an IT director is great.”

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