Research Data Transfer Zone

SES is working with Jisc and Diamond Light Source (DLS) to establish a coherent framework that will significantly increase the end-to-end data speeds between SES partners and with DLS, with DLS being the initial focus.

With the volume of data generated from research projects increasing rapidly it’s now clear that the issues inherent with managing large volumes of data are affecting a wider variety fields and disciplines than ever before. One of the ways that institutions are aiming to ease the burden of managing/transferring such high volumes of research data is through improved network infrastructure. The purpose of the Research Data Transfer Zone (RDTZ) is to reduce the end-to-end network impediments that affect the speed at which research (not business) data can be transferred between experimental, computational and storage facilities. The RDTZ follows a similar framework to that established by the Department of Energy and leading universities in the USA.

SES is assembling resources from Jisc, Diamond Light Source and university IT networking and leadership teams to identify and work with researchers that already experience data transfer issues with Diamond. The aim is to implement a RDTZ to explore how this framework may address these challenges in an efficient and user-friendly way.

Potential benefits may include the ability to setup and monitor experiments remotely and stream data directly to off-site HPC facilities, negating the need to physically transport the data. This would save the researcher both the time and cost involved with travelling to a research facility and promote equipment/experimental setup as a service at participating facilities.

The University of Southampton was the first institution to pioneer the setup alongside SES, with the pilot project demonstrating an increased capability in data download speed. The initial pilot has demonstrated the ability to reduce download time scales from 10-30 days to 5.5 hours.  This discourages researchers from resorting to out of date data transfer methods, such as commonly used portable hard drives.

Most of the input to run the pilot project alongside SES has been undertaken by institutional networking engineers, with the researchers then required to report on how their research has been impacted. SES intends to expand and implement the RDTZ across all project partners and Diamond, with an end objective to link all institutions to one another and allow a push and pull of data across a wider spectrum of research.

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