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Data-intensive cloud infrastructure

The Ilifu data-intensive facility has a focus of research and development for cloud-based data-intensive research solutions for the strategic science domains of astronomy and bioinformatics.

In a precursor project, a two-node implementation of a multi-node cloud infrastructure was demonstrated between the University of Cape Town (UCT) and North-West University (NWU). This infrastructure provided cloud compute services and was an early prototype of the technical foundation of the Ilifu facility. The Inter-University Institute for Data-Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) consortium, made up of UCT, University of Pretoria and University of the Western Cape then purchased, further developed and operated and further developed a significant compute facility as a second generation system, which now forms part of the Ilifu computing infrastructure along with a major equipment contribution from the DIRISA grant and from UCT’s Computational Biology Group. The Ilifu partners have further developed scalable systems for cloud-based provisioning of data-centric resources, and have prototyped a tiered, federated cloud infrastructure with consortium partners and external collaborators.

The goals of the project are to:

  • Provide a new model for provisioning of data-intensive research infrastructure to researchers.
  • Federate cloud systems to create a common eResearch cyberinfrastructure system.
  • Demonstrate cloud-based solutions for strategic projects in astronomy and bioinformatics.