Research Data Zone

SURF is examining the possibilities of a research data zone, which is a section of a campus network that is optimised for data-intensive research. A project has been launched with UvA/HvA to design and implement a research data zone. SURF acts as a coordinator, bringing together the institutions and companies.

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More data-intensive research

Research is becoming ever more data intensive and demand is increasing for quick ways to exchange large volumes of data. Processing, sending or sharing large data sets is often time-consuming for researchers. The reason for this is that the campus network is optimised for general use (e.g. email, web surfing, digital learning environments, staff administration), rather than for data-intensive research.

What is a research data zone?

A research data zone is a section of the campus network that has been specially designed to be used for high-performance research. The network equipment, configurations and data security measures have been set up in a way that allows the researcher to easily share and send large volumes of data, control experiments remotely or visualise data. Sharing confidential or sensitive data on a large scale is also easier to do via a research data zone. A research data zone communicates with a similar research data zone at another location. Therefore, the network infrastructure must be properly configured on both ends.

Project phases

SURF has launched a project with UvA/HvA to design and implement a research data zone in the campus network infrastructure. The project consists of a number of phases:

  • Drawing up requirements on the basis of interviews with researchers
  • Designing the architecture: what components and technology will be deployed?
  • Implementing the architecture of the research data zone through use cases
  • Evaluating the use cases
  • Disseminating the research data zone to other institutions

Testing with use cases

The suitability of the research data zone is tested with several use cases. Researchers at UvA are collaborating with a high-tech plant breeding company on genome data. Both parties must have access to the processed data and each genome has several terabytes of data.

Generic solution

The architecture for the research data zone will be as generic as possible to enable other institutions to easily implement the research data zone's design in their own campus networks. This will enable researchers to quickly and easily send large or confidential data sets to other locations.

SURF's role

A research data zone only works if the network infrastructure connection is optimally configured and attuned on both ends. SURF acts as a coordinator, bringing together the institutions and companies. SURF will also be publishing knowledge regarding networks.

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