Category Archives: Uncategorized

New application to apply for VicNode Storage

A new application has been created to apply for VicNode storage. This new application is shorter and will allow us to help researchers easily apply for storage.

Our new application can be found on the Apply for Storage and Documentation page.

To apply please submit your application via email to Once we receive your application we will be in touch to discuss your storage needs and workout the best solution for you and your team.

Going faster and further with University of Melbourne collections

Getting data to some distant user or research collaborator can be a very frustrating experience. If too large for email attachments (<10MB), using some intermediate cloud storage (<10GB) might work to a point, but when your data gets very large (100GB+), communications can become a bottleneck.

In those cases either too distant or too large, VicNode can help.

Data collections hosted on VicNodes Market service at the University of Melbourne can now access the Aspera Shares service. This is the first Aspera service available from VicNode. When a collection is connected to the Aspera Shares service, a logged in user can transfer data at maximum speed between their desktop and VicNode storage.

Over 225TB of data has already been ingested and shared by this method. Examples are bushfire data from California and astronomy data from Murchison Wide Field Array. The collection owner is always under the control of who can read or write data.

With a little extra work, data can be transported directly between research systems and bypass the desktop.

If you think your collection might benefit from Aspera Shares, contact the Infrastructure Specialist (Stephen Dart) via the email address for more details.

VicNode is gathering feedback

At VicNode we are always looking for ways to improve. We have started sending out a short two question survey to all the known users of VicNode. We promise you won’t receive more than one of these every six-months, but there are instructions on unsubscribing in the email if you would prefer not to receive these surveys.

Open data: Changing research

At the VicNode Office we’re always excited to hear how open data and technology are changing research. The latest inspirational story to come across our desks is Yuri Milner’s 100 million USD investment into the Listen Initiative. This project is conducting a survey of the million stars closest to the earth, searching for extraterrestrial life using some of the most powerful instruments available.

All the data from the Listen Initiative will be made open, with Milner saying, “we’re committed to bringing the Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life in the Universe. Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks.”

The prospect of opening this data to the public has many people excited, both in and outside the research community. Dr Alan Duffy, Research Fellow at Swinburne University, is the data custodian for the VicNode hosted SMAUG—Hydrodynamic Simulations of First Galaxy Formation collection, said the following about the Listen Initiative on The Drum:

I think one of the biggest things will be the digital challenge. We have an enormous amount of data to search. That will be done in a way that is open source. Yuri Milner … wants this data to be out there for the general public to try and find the signal themselves. And look, if computer coding isn’t your forte you can also just download the SETI@home screensaver and it will just crunch the numbers while your computer is idle.

If you would like support to making your research data public, or would like to host a research data collection on infrastructure in Victoria, VicNode offers a range services to support researchers Victorian research institutions.

VicNode Workshop

On Friday 10 July, VicNode hosted a Workshop to close out the VicNode Project and officially launch into the operational phase. Our team has grown over the last year so it was great to come together to celebrate our successes, learn from our experiences, and look ahead to the future

The VicNode project begun in January 2013 and came to an end on 30 June 2015.  During the course of the project VicNode has  completed the following activities:

  • set up operational centres at Monash University and the University of Melbourne which host:
    • new technology
    • low level, scalable Infrastructure as a Service
    • basis for next generation of storage for Victoria
  • established the VicNode Establishment Committee, eResearch Directors Advisory Group and VicNode Merit Allocation Committee to oversee project deliverables, strategy and activities
  • ran a 19 month ReDS Merit Allocation Scheme with over 108 applications received for research data storage collections. This scheme approved over 3.9PB of research data from 13 universities and research institutes
  • ingested 2.13 PB of research data

The operational phase of VicNode will be centered around The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) funded activities which will focus on creating tools, applications and communities around the storage infrastructure. The activities will focus on the following areas

Ongoing VicNode and institutionally supported storage at the Monash operating centre is supported through the Monash eResearch centre.

Ongoing VicNode and institutionally supported storage at the University of Melbourne operating centre is supported through the Research Platform Services team.

The Australian Drosophila Ecology and Evolution Resource launches using VicNode storage services

The University of Melbourne’s Hoffmann lab (School of BioSciences) researches how organisms adapt to climate change and changes in response to pollutants. Over the last 3 decades, the lab has collected a large number of Drosophila datasets that are of value to Australian and international researchers in Drosophila evolution, genome dynamics and climate adaptation.

These data include everything from fly cold resistance to gene frequency measurements, typically taken in multiple fly populations spanning the natural gradient of cold to warm environments along the east coast of Australia. They also include species distribution data, which is invaluable for tracking range expansions and contractions related to climate or species invasiveness.

Most recently, the group and their collaborators at Monash and CSIRO have produced genome assemblies for over 20 Australian Drosophila species. The genomes are being used to detect the signature of climate specialists versus generalists, and to compare genetic architecture across species in terms of large-scale processes of DNA decay and duplication of functional gene families. They also form the scaffold for investigations of genes involved in climate stress response and natural population variation, and prediction of future evolutionary adaptation in these species.

The Lab’s application for a VicNode merit allocation of storage was approved by the VicNode Merit Allocation Committee in 2014. Since that time, Hoffmann lab researchers have also been working with the University Library’s eScholarship Research Centre as well as Research Platform Services to publish and preserve of these valuable datasets in a project funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS).

This initiative has resulted in the launch of the Australian Drosophila Ecology and Evolution Resource (ADEER), an open-access resource where >100 of the ecological, genetic and species distribution datasets can be downloaded, browsed and visualised. The published research data sets are all stored using the VicNode Vault (Swift) storage product, which has functionality to enable datasets to be published and made accessible via the web.

The ADEER resource also includes an instance of the UCSC Genome Browser to access the genome data. As part of this project, the lab sourced some contributions from other Australian Drosophila research groups and hopes to continue to make this an Australia-wide resource.

Congratulations to two successful VicNode Merit applicants

VicNode congratulates two more applicants for the last round of ReDS merit funded storage. The new collections approved for storage on VicNode are:

This concludes the highly successful ReDS Merit Allocation Scheme. Under this scheme VicNode has approved 90 collections totaling 4.6Petabytes (PB) of research data from 12 research institutions in Australia.

There is still capacity available for research data of Victorian significance under the DSDBI Merit scheme. For more information please contact us at

VicNode surpases 2PB of Research Data!

VicNode has passed the 2 Petabyte (PB) mark for research data stored on our infrastructure across both operating centres at Monash University and the University of Melbourne. As of today VicNode is storing 2.049TB of research data. This breaks down into:

VicNode (ReDS) National Merit Scheme – 2012.95TB

VicNode (DSDBI) Victorian Merit Scheme – 36.6 TB

VicNode supporting the implementation of Figshare research data repositories in Victoria

The University of Melbourne has launched a new Research Data Repository using Figshare along with VicNode storage infrastructure. The Figshare repository software enables researchers to store, publish, cite and share research data and results. This approach is different from a usual VicNode collection in that it is a collection of collections accessible through a single website.

The new Figshare repository enables University of Melbourne researchers with digital research data to upload, publish and cite their collections without requiring a separate VicNode storage application.

VicNode has been pleased to provide the underlying storage using RDSI infrastructure at its University of Melbourne operating centre. A similar service at the Monash operating centre will become available later in 2015 to cater for researchers based there.

Click here to find out more about Figshare through VicNode.
Click here to access the Univerity of Melbourne Figshare Research Data Repository.