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New Science DMZ Network Supports Boise State’s Research Mission

The Office of Information Technology and Office of Research Development have collaborated to implement the Science DMZ, a network optimized for high performance scientific research that will support Boise State University’s research mission. Boise State’s Science DMZ network enables researchers to transfer, share, and process large data sets both on and off campus.

Separate from the standard campus network, the Science DMZ was created to facilitate large data transfers both on campus and with external collaborators. As a separate network, data is capable of moving significantly faster than it does on the campus network, where large data transfers are in contention with the normal flow of network traffic from sources all over campus.

Highlights of the Science DMZ in action include:

  • Performance Increases: An associate professor in the Department of Geosciences was able to move 6.45 terabytes of data in less than three hours utilizing the Science DMZ. This internal transfer was done from R2, Boise State’s cluster, to research storage located on the Science DMZ. A transfer of that same size done over the standard campus network and storage took approximately four days.
  • High-Speed Data Transfers with External Research Institution: Jason Winiarski, an Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior Program PhD student in the Heath Lab, was able to transfer 1.9 terabytes of data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, to R2 in less than an hour. This transfer was managed with Globus, a software used for staging and managing data transfers, which is used with data transfers like this one. This level of speed reduces lag time for researchers, allowing them to spend more time working with data and less time waiting for large datasets to become available locally.
  • Pipeline for Automated Data Transfer: In addition to fast data transfers, the Globus transfer service has enabled the development of an automated data-transfer pipeline to be set up using both the Science DMZ and campus resources. Jim Beck, a doctoral student in Computational Science and Engineering with the Hayden Lab, utilizes Globus to automate a data pipeline between the Knight Lab at UC San Diego and Boise State.  Research samples collected in the field by Boise State researchers are sent to the Knight Lab for DNA sequencing. These short-read sequences are subsequently synchronized with research storage at Boise State with this automated pipeline.
  • Quick Access to Data: The Science DMZ isn’t hard to access, either. New geosciences assistant professor Ellyn Enderlin has also been able to benefit from Boise State’s network architecture. Within about two months of arriving on campus, Enderlin was able to utilize the Science DMZ and Globus resources to schedule a transfer of 1.9 terabytes of data to Boise State from the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota.

Boise State’s research network was built by a collaborative effort between the Office of Research Development, and OIT units’ Cloud Services, Information Security, Networking, and Research Computing.  Initial funding was provided by a National Science Foundation CC*DNI Networking Infrastructure award, #1541464.

To learn more about how to use the Science DMZ or Globus for your data, email or stop by for office hours any Thursday from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at 1114 S. Manitou Ave.

– Story by Forrest Burt