ICT Services is pleased to announce that ILRI and ICRAF have signed a contract for a new fibre optic ring to interconnect the two institutes with the Kenyan national research and education network (KENET).
The new circuit, which should be commissioned within days, will increase the bandwidth available to researchers from a current 18.75Mbps to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
This improvement will dramatically improve the ability of ILRI and ICRAF scientists to transfer large data sets to and from other scientific organizations connected to other national and regional networks around the world.
Even better, the circuit will cost a fraction of the 3 circuits it will replace (one to KENET, and two linking ILRI and ICRAF). The logical ring topology means in the event of a fibre cut between any two points (e.g., between ILRI and ICRAF) communications can continue (in this case via KENET, to which both will remain connected).
KENET has 4.5Gb of international bandwidth out of Kenya utilized at 50% capacity. To date we have not been able to take much advantage of this as our existing link to this pipe is, comparatively, a straw.
The new “Ethernet level” connectivity will permit both institutes to transform how IT services are offered in future. Instead of filling our data centres with ever more hardware we will be able to take advantage of Storage As A Service and Infrastructure As A Service, provisioning storage capacity and virtual servers on demand, and scaling as required.
Among the things that will now be possible will be implementation of shared off-site disaster recovery facilities at KENET, including backup for scientific data (the rapid growth in genomic and other data is outrunning the capacity of ILRI and ICRAF to provide mutual backup without major investments in additional storage capacity).