Osaka University, Scality and Fujitsu are jointly executing a cold data storage-focused field trial of intercontinental data centre coordination, together with partners in Japan and Europe.
Based on a consortium for collaboration between academia and industry established in April 2016, the field trial will be conducted from November 2016 through to December 2017, and carried out between the data centres in Osaka University’s Cybermedia Center and the data centres owned by Paris-based AntemetA.
In this field trial, the partners will build and test the effectiveness of a storage platform coordinated across remote locations, which offers improvements in throughput, disaster resilience, and lower costs by eliminating redundancy within individual data centres.
This is done by duplicating data that is not updated very often, known as “cold data,” in data centres on each continent, and applying a data sharing technology from Scality called conflict-free replicated data type (CRDT)(2), which is used in distributed computing environments.

Currently, in order to coordinate data between data centres, two methods are used: one in which coordination is done through synchronous communications over short distances where data transfer delays are small, and another is to make backups through asynchronous communication over long distances.
When using synchronous communication over short distances, there is a high probability that multiple data centres might be simultaneously affected by large-scale disasters. When asynchronous communication is used over long distances, there are large delays in transmitting data between data centres, so the only option was standby redundancy coordination for backups or disaster recovery.
At the same time, against the backdrop of changes such as the spread of technologies like AI and the IoT, data which is generally not updated, called cold data, has taken up more than half of all data, primarily in the form of image and video data, and there is an increasing demand for ways to accumulate new data and share it between multiple locations.
In order to achieve data centre coordination between multiple locations, however, there have been issues in achieving data synchronization between data centres, and in improving response speed when reading the data.

Summary of the field trial
In this trial, the participants will develop the “Geo Replication” system to realize the layering and data redundancy, which had only been achieved between data centres in close proximity or within a stand-alone data centre, at long distances such as between continents.
By layering and storing not only continually updated “hot” data and infrequently updated “warm” data, but also “cold” data, which is seldom updated, across multiple types of storage devices, long-term storage functionality, lowered costs, and increased responsiveness and overall throughput can be achieved across the system as a whole.
The companies participating in this consortium will advance the development of the Geo Replication system, and the field trial will be carried out, aiming for commercialization, with partners in Europe, using data that is actually in use in Osaka University’s data centres.

Future developments
By the end of March 2017, the three organizations will confirm the basic operation of the system, and publish a paper on the research results from this trial during fiscal 2017. In addition, from April 2017 through December 2017, together with joint field trial partners in Japan and Europe, they will perform a usage trial for specific applications, with a variety of data types.
Based on the trial’s research results, the three organizations will each aim to develop cold data storage services, a storage platform coordinated between remote locations, and other practical technologies.