Griffith University in Queensland has set up
a virtualised, tiered storage architecture to cut the cost of
deploying a disaster recovery system.
Griffith is replicating data from its Brisbane campuses to its
Gold Coast campuses over fibre optic links, which replaced
microwave links in late December. The university has invested in
a range of new storage software and hardware for the project.
The new setup must handle the storage requirements of more than
30,000 students and 3,000 staff.
The deployment utilises a four tier storage architecture.
While tier one is in Brisbane, tiers two, three and four are located in
Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The multiple tiers allow Griffith to
use cheaper storage media for data that doesn't need to be
Previously Griffith used Hitachi's Lightening systems for an
environment of tier one disk space and tape in Brisbane. However
the need for a disaster recovery setup helped introduce the idea
for a tiered strategy.
"The [Lightening] system was built for high-throughput and
availability, but being tier one, it was premium price," said
Naveen Sharma, associate director of information services,
"Even for our non-critical applications, we had to use tier
The answer was in acquiring Sun's StorEdge 9985 drive for
virtualisation (a -baby" version of Hitachi's Tagma system),
Hitachi's HiCommand Device Manager software, StorageTek
rack-mountable tape libraries, and extending the use of TrueCopy
to replicate data to the Gold Coast.
The new software allowed network administrators to view and
use cheaper storage at the Gold Coast campus as part of the same
network, said Sharma.
"Now, for applications that are non-critical, we can use
cheaper storage," he said.
"So the source [data] could be tier one, but the target is
cheaper storage, like tier three."
Applications using tier one include Griffith's PeopleSoft system
-- which includes finance, human resources and student
administration components. Also on tier one is the university's
online learning system -- Blackboard, Lotus GroupWare, web
services and student e-mail.
The cheaper storage Griffith would use for backup purposes was
at the tier three level. There were two types of storage
available at this tier according to Sharma, one being enterprise
class. Griffith, however, would use the cheaper option for
Tier four, tape, was often sent off-site for backup and archival
Sharma declined to comment on the cost of the upgrade.