Our pilot group has started interacting with the new “mountable storage” element of our Service Band 2 infrastructure. As you’ll remember, this storage is meant to provide remotely accessible, fast-as-desktop storage for users and their in-process work. Users of this storage interact with it much as one does with a drive on one’s own computer: it appears as an extra drive in your menus, and you can easily move files in and out as desired, as well as share access to your drive with others, and even connect to it via existing NYU computing environments like HPC. In short, It’s speedy, reliable, shareable within teams, and centrally managed, all things that our researchers tell us they require for their work. Our pilot group members — 8-10 researchers across a wide spectrum of disciplines — now have access to the beta version of this resource, and are giving us feedback about it to help us develop a production version, hopefully for fall 2017.
One of our users has reported that though file copying was a bit slow, once files are there, accessing and using these files in computing applications has been quite smooth. We’re hoping that the production version will have increased speed and capacity, and understanding how users workflows are structured will help us develop the right sorts of tools to make these kinds of tasks run faster.
With the semester winding down, other testers reported their excitement at putting the storage through its paces. One researcher expressed satisfaction at having this storage directly connected to HPC, while others are just interested in seeing how it will interact with and impact their ongoing work, in everything from computation to publication and visualization applications.
We’ve also been investigating the desire among some testers for parallel, remote access to the storage, possibly using a tool like Pydio that would provide a Graphical User Interface (GUI) . This would allow for access to the drive in other kinds of ways, and might open up development opportunities that would interface with other parts of the Research Cloud Services portfolio, like OSF for Institutions, or our Faculty Digital Archive.
We look forward to continuing to work with our early pilot users over the summer and see how we can build the best tool possible to meet researcher needs. Stay tuned!