Fujitsu empowers A*STAR’s drive for research excellence
A*STAR required a dedicated high-speed network to facilitate the research work for more than 800 researchers across its Research Institutes.
Using the existing corporate network to transfer huge amounts of research data caused network congestion, resulting in inefficient workflows and difficulties in collaborating with local tertiary institutions and international research partners.
Fujitsu designed a 100G high-speed network solution to deliver low latency and high throughput and performance that facilitates A*STAR’s research initiatives.
- Empower faster access to large volumes of research data
- Enable fast, reliable storage and long-term archival of research data
- Speed up day-to-day research activities such as computer simulations involving terabytes of data
- Enhance data sharing and collaboration with both local and overseas tertiary institutions and research partners
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's leading public sector agency that spearheads economic-oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. Through open innovation, it collaborates with its partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit society.
As a science and technology organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industries. Its research creates economic growth and enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability.
A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing and developing a diversity of talent and leaders in its agency and research entities, the wider research community and the industry. A*STAR’s Research & Education (R&D) activities span between biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis.
Products and Services
- Designed 100G high-speed network
- Deployed backbone links, copper/fibre links to users’ desks and uplinks from access to core switches
- HPC servers and Storages: 10Gbps to servers, and 40Gbps uplinks
- RI User and Server Network: 1/10Gbps (Copper/ Fibre) with 40Gbps uplinks
- Internet: 10Gbps
- Interface to the Corporate Network: 1/10Gbps
- Internet Security
- Intrusion Detection/Prevention
- Network Management, Authentication, Security
Spearheading Singapore’s innovation-driven economy
Recognizing that efficient data management is key to meaningful research outcomes, A*STAR saw the inadequacies of using its existing corporate network to support both day-to-day office productivity and research initiatives. There was an urgent need to address the inefficiencies its researchers faced while transferring terabytes of research data. Network congestion also made it difficult to access supercomputers to run simulations or exchange databases with overseas research partners.
Why Fujitsu: Leading expertise and trusted partnership
To streamline workflow at its Research Institutes (RIs), A*STAR wanted to engage a proven and trusted partner to design a next-generation 100G dedicated high-speed network to support 800 over researchers.
Fujitsu stood out with its good knowledge of A*STAR’s environment and requirements, having provided high performance computing solutions for A*STAR’s urban computing and engineering Centre of Excellence, and also the petaflop machines during the setup of National Super Computing Center (NSCC). Besides its long-standing relationship with A*STAR, Fujitsu was also selected as a technological partner for its leading expertise to design a Next-Generation Research Network solution and deliver a 100G high-speed network with low cost solution.
Facilitating leading-edge research with dedicated high-speed network
ExaNet was deployed in 2015 to deliver a low latency, high throughput and high-speed network to facilitate A*STAR’s leading-edge research initiatives such as next-generation genomic sequencing, high-resolution imaging, big data analytics and more.
Empowering the efficient management of research data, some of ExaNet’s key capabilities include its Storage on Demand capability for the reliable storage and exchange of research data. It also offers two high-speed links. Firstly, NSCC leverages high-performance computational resources for fast computation and efficient data transfer; and also with SingAREN, the global research network, to seamlessly collaborate with local tertiary institutions such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), industry collaborators and overseas research partners.
Enhancing research efficiencies and enriching collaborations
With ExaNet, A*STAR’s researchers now enjoy greater efficiencies in their day-to-day tasks, such as the transfer of terabytes of data from the supercomputers back to their workstations for further analysis. “What used to take days now takes just 10 to 15 minutes, making it very easy for us to share data with both local and overseas research partners,” said Jernej Zidar, Scientist, Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR.
The Model Factory@SIMTech, A*STAR’s learning factory for the Manufacturing Control TowerTM, also gained from the use of ExaNet. Offering an actual production environment, it allows enterprises to use their platform to prototype new digitalization technologies for Industry 4.0. Dr Justin Lim, Deputy Director, Manufacturing Productivity Technology Center @ SIMTech shared, “Leveraging ExaNet has enabled faster data exchange between the factory floor and the back-end servers to enable more effective testing of digitalization technologies in a manufacturing environment.” It now takes less time to transfer large datasets for collaboration purposes. This allows researchers to be more efficient and improves overall productivity. With the implementation of this state-of-the-art network, other intangible benefits include positioning A*STAR as a research hub-of-choice among the international research community, which would help Singapore attract more research talent, leading to greater research outcomes.
As biological data continues to explode from megabytes to multi-terabytes, faster network access will enable the reliable storage of critical research data in A*STAR’s Storage-on-Demand system. “With ExaNet, we can now quickly access and store a large volume of data, while being assured of reliable, long-term archival of our research efforts,” said Bernett Lee, Senior Research Scientist, Bioinformatics, Singapore Immunology Network, A*STAR.
Extending regional research connectivity
A* STAR researchers who are accessing or would like to access the overseas locations via SingAREN’s (Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network) high-speed Research and Education (R&E) links will be able to access the same services at a higher speed via ExaNet (high speed research network, 100G). The new R&E high speed links to USA, Europe, Korea and Japan are SIN-USA (100G), SIN-Europe (100G), SIN-Japan (100G), SIN-Korea (100G), SIN-Australia (10G), SIN-Philippines (10G), SIN-Thailand (20G), SIN-India (10G), SIN-Sri Lanka (10G). The SIN-Australia (10G) link will be upgraded to 100G by the end of 2019.
A more direct and shorter route between Asia and other continents secures lower latency, reduces costs and enhances the customer demands due to increasing R&E traffic. It also provides powerful, enabling connectivity between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to advance scientific research and world-leading bandwidth-intensive projects. This is a novel collaboration between leading regional and global networking organisations, which will give economies of scale for high-capacity, direct connectivity between the regions, while improving the experience of researchers worldwide.
This enhanced connectivity infrastructure represents a common vision and highlights the shared goal of regional and global R&E networks. By collaborating to meet the connectivity needs of their R&E communities, it facilitates more efficient collaboration across these countries and economies in a mutually beneficial and cost-effective manner.
Strengthening research prowess
With Fujitsu’s technology expertise, A*STAR is pleased with the efficiency gains delivered by ExaNet, which has enhanced research experience. Looking ahead, A*STAR envisions its ExaNet investment to continually strengthen Singapore’s status as a regional research hub, which will enable it to attract more research talent to Singapore.
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