How a Leading Cancer Research Center is Building a World-Class Hybrid Infrastructure

Harnessing the Power of Avere Hybrid Cloud NAS and AWS

One of the leading cancer research centers in the world wanted to reduce on-premises infrastructure and leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS) for compute and long-term storage. The center also wanted to integrate more agile processes for data backups and disaster recovery. Avere Hybrid Cloud Network Attached Storage (NAS) provided the solution.

Designed for managing dynamic public and private cloud platforms along with traditional infrastructure deployments, Avere Hybrid Cloud NAS is helping the cancer center easily leverage cloud compute and storage. Avere Hybrid Cloud NAS is also allowing the cancer research center to migrate data at a pace that works for them without excessive costs, latency, or security concerns. Low latency provides faster access to data, which keeps people more productive, which is important during migrations. Read on, to learn how Avere is helping this customer make the most of AWS capabilities.

The Challenge: Moving Massive Amounts of Traditional, Diverse, On-Premises Data to the Cloud

A global leader in cancer research wanted to reduce its on-premises infrastructure and embrace a hybrid cloud architecture to keep pace with the growing compute and storage demands needed for cancer research. In addition, with 200-plus research departments—each with diverse data and file systems—they needed a way to transition, unify, access and share their specific workloads on AWS without disrupting important research.

“A critical situation is that we have legacy applications and equipment, and neither are designed to integrate with a cloud-based storage system,” says Dirk Petersen, Scientific Computing Director at the cancer research center. “We have a lot of existing data center equipment through Federal grants and we want to be able to continue to use it.”

In addition, the center research center was suffering capacity problems and had turned to throttling users to cope with the impact of enormous 300GB genomic band files. With such massive amounts of sensitive data, migrating in phases worked best for the users to ensure the timing made the most sense with their workflow.

Moving to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) was a preliminary step. Amazon S3 allows the cancer center to keep pace with growing data demands, while breaking the cycle of needing more and more on-premises storage. Cloud compute resources can be dynamically scaled with massive performance and capacity levels.

They can also be accessed and used easily with the Avere vFXT, a softwareonly file server that bridges storage and compute. The Avere vFXT provides fully functional NAS to support both NFS and SMB applications running on the cloud. Architecture can be scaled to compute cloud resources to massive performance and capacity levels while ensuring high availability for data. By using a combination of Avere filers and AWS services, the cancer center is building a world-class hybrid infrastructure at their own pace.

This customized pace allows for:

  • A scaled-out NAS system so that new hardware can be added and configured without disruption.
  • Limiting feature sets to their core to allow them to be taken out or of the mix or adapted later.
  • Providing an abstraction layer to support deployment of apps directly to the cloud without being transparent to the underlying cloud infrastructure.

"With Avere’s help, a deliberate migration approach was designed to mitigate risk and keep the process as painless as possible,” says Peterson."