Graphic shows a series of ones and zeros in a spiral to represent the coding involved with big data.


In November, the latest deployment of high-performance storage from VAST Data arrived on the University of Missouri campus. This storage technology has been selected as one of several foundational elements of the all-new Research Data Ecosystem (RDE) that will facilitate researchers’ need to save more data locally.

Housed in the MU Data Center, the initial VAST Data installation will provide four petabytes of all-flash storage (enough to hold about 44,000 4K-quality films).

Realizing MU researchers’ need for better storage options, the installation is a $2.3 million investment toward the next generation of storage solutions made possible through a partnership between the Division of Information Technology (IT) and the Division of Research, Innovation & Impact.

Part of the MizzouForward plan, the VAST Data installation initially will focus its efforts in NextGen Precision Health initiative labs but ultimately will serve as part of a solution for the greater campus research community.

“Our data lifecycle-focused design, integrating best-in-class vendors and technologies for RDE will provide a faster and simpler way to deal with large-scale data,” said Matthew Keeler, associate director of IT’s Research Support Solutions (RSS) team, partially a result of a $7 million MizzouForward investment toward enhancing research technology and associated support services systemwide.

“With this first step, the Research Support Solutions team will solve immediate storage needs in the Electron Microscopy Core and support other resource-intensive research disciplines across the campus.”

Keeler said the formation of the RDE will provide a research-centric data hub, so researchers always know where their data is going. Barriers to transferring and storing large amounts of data are being removed by centralizing storage infrastructure.

As the RDE implementation matures, customers using Windows, Mac or Linux devices will eventually be able to use this storage solution in a way that best supports their research.

The partnership between IT and the Division of Research will make way for the installation of Pixstor, the hub of the RDE, which will arrive on campus in December.

Pixstor and VAST Data platforms initially will provide eight petabytes of storage, while other parts of the RDE technology stack will include resources for backup and archival, advanced data movement and support for the integration of cloud resources. These additional resources align with the MizzouForward initiative to push research efforts further and faster across the UM System.