University of Alabama Birmingham researchers do what they do best – research!

 We have just documented an interesting real world OpenStack cloud deployment at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). Here is a brief synopsis – the complete write up will be posted at in a few days.   is now live. on Dell.,com

UAB researchers were constantly distracted from their core research projects as they had to move increasing amounts of data around to available storage resources. Finding and accessing cost-effective and secure storage was a constant challenge and “there was too much needless effort being put into a problem that could be solved efficiently with a consistent storage model.” as explained by John-Paul Robinson, the system architect for research computing at the University.

The solution came in the form of a centralized cloud storage infrastructure based on the Dell OpenStack-powered cloud solution, Dell Crowbar automation platform and OpenStack software. The infrastructure includes a 10-gigabit Ethernet fabric with Dell

Networking switches connecting Dell PowerEdge R720XD servers with core storage services are provided by Ceph, an open-source, unified storage software platform offered by Inktank.

Tagged as “One of the 10 coolest startups in 2012” by CRN, InkTank Ceph plays a key role in the solution by delivering massively scalable object, block and file storage in a single file system – it helps eliminate separate data silos, can scale easily and quickly, and is adaptable to changing demands.

The solution address access challenges with a self-service portal where researchers simply provision object, block, and file-based storage resources on-demand. As a result, researchers can now focus on making new discoveries rather than wasting precious time acting as shadow IT admins managing and moving data sets around. This cloud infrastructure is also accelerating increasingly advanced research projects as UAB Scientists and researchers can now work with larger, more diverse and sophisticated data sets, further enhancing the scope and depth of research that they can undertake.

We are reviewing this deployment in a session at the OpenStack Summit this week – make sure to check it out if you are attending the Summit event. Wed. Nov 6, from 1:00 to 1:15 p.m. | Dell Expo Hall – Dell OpenStack Cloud with Inktank Ceph

OpenStack Summit is happening now in Hong Kong! If you are attending Summit be sure to stop by the Dell Booth #B10. Contact us:

About the Author: Brent Doncaster

Brent Doncaster - Senior Strategist, Product Marketing Leveraging his 20+ years of technology experience into the creation of portfolio messaging for Dell EMC Cloud Solutions in support of global marketing campaigns and initiatives in Dell EMC’s Integrated Solutions Group. Twitter: @Brent_BWD