Researchers using the National Imaging Facility’s (NIF) state-of-the-art imaging capabilities (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT) and many other imaging modalities) to improve our understanding and treatment of human diseases, are among the rapidly rising number of users of AARNet’s CloudStor large file sender and storage service for researchers.
For Dr Andrew Janke, NIF Informatics Fellow at the Centre of Advanced Imaging (CAI) NIF node at The University of Queensland, the ability to easily and securely share large datasets between project partners and the other NIF nodes in different locations around the country is crucial.
“We always have trepidations about handing out data on USB sticks,” he says of a major issue CloudStor solves for researchers.
Janke says he has used used CloudStor to share data with collaborators working on the Australian Mouse Brain Corsortium imaging project, which created a world-first detailed atlas of a mouse brain using the CAI’s powerful MRI scanners and advanced image analysis. This atlas is helping researchers worldwide in the fight against brain disease.
He has also used CloudStor for the collaborative analysis on a 60GB+ dataset of MR images of elderly adults participating in theASPREE-ENVISION clinical trial.
“CloudStor satisfies ethical requirements for the storage of human data via university credentials, whereas the use of other commercial large file storage and transfer services for this data would likely require additional ethics clearance,” he says.
CloudStor was developed by AARNet to support the file sharing needs of data-intensive research collaborations and these are great examples of the service being used for its intended purpose.
The service provides researchers with a free 100GB data storage allocation and enables researchers to safely share large datasets with collaborators via federated access, such as using Australian Access Federation credentials, avoiding the need to maintain yet another system for sharing data. With research increasingly a cross-discipline and multi-institution endeavour, CloudStor’s option for setting up group storage and group quotas provides a solution that can be customised for collaborations.
A key advantage for researchers over personal and commercial offerings is storage located in Australia directly connected to the AARNet backbone at 10Gbps for rapid and convenient access and avoiding any sovereignty issues.
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