The fibre-optic link between AIMS and JCU was designed to overcome a major impediment to effective collaboration between JCU and the relatively remote site of AIMS – that of e-connection. It first came online in May 2005, with the capacity for up to 12 separate 1Gb/s links initially used to join AIMS to JCU in two ways - a high speed Internet connection between AIMS and AARNet (Australian Academic and Research Net­work Pty Ltd), as well as a direct peer­ing link between AIMS and JCU, which made the AIMS site a virtual extension of the JCU campus and vice versa. This infrastructure provided cost effective, high speed, and simplified access for researchers to the people and resources they needed to access regardless of their location. Combined with services such as Eduroam, high performance computing & video conferencing, this infrastructure has promoted a quantum increase in scientific interaction and collaboration between AIMS and JCU, and indeed throughout the world.

In August 2007, the optic-fibre infra­structure was used to create a 4Gb/s dual fabric, fibre channel, storage area network between AIMS and JCU. This allows large quantities of AIMS data to be copied and stored in JCU systems to facilitate disaster recovery. The suc­cess of the initial project resulted in an upgrade to cover much larger datasets and implement high speed disk backups and online data archival facilities. JCU IT&R are also currently considering mak­ing similar use of the link in the reverse direction.

In future, by utilising modern technology that can increase link speeds by 40 times using the same cable, the AIMS@JCU fibre optic link will be further developed to cost effectively create increases in bandwidth by orders of magnitude. By having the vision to invest in coal-face infrastructure which was ahead of its time, AIMS@JCU created a legacy for e-connectivity which can be adapted and scaled to ensure effective state-of-the-art linkage between AIMS and JCU into the future.

information and images provided by James Smith