Scality RING Drives Scientific Collaboration for 25,000 SURFdrive Users


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both object and file storage as software defined storage

Knowing they’ve got reliable, performant, available storage for the long haul that will scale easily as SURFdrive subscribership grows means the team can spend its time enhancing, rather than maintaining the service.

  • Security policies and standards

    Availability &

    SURFdrive’s success is measured by user satisfaction. It just works; for all 25,000 of them.


  • icon-purple-scalability.png?fit=93%2C102&ssl=1

    Easy Scalability with No Downtime

    Upgrades and add-ons are easy—with zero downtime.


  • Lower TCO

    Lower Operations Overhead

    Ease of administration means low staff overhead.


Making IT Easy

Netherlands-based SURF, a collaborative IT organization for education and research, is using Scality RING object storage as the storage back-end to its SURFdrive service under its SURFsara high performance computing division. SURFdrive delivers secure, reliable, and continually available storage to more than 25,000 researchers working in 50 higher education institutions across the region. The system relies on Scality RING to protect, share, and synchronize files within the subscription-based cloud.

SURFsara supports diverse efforts: from the massive and complex CERN (the European Council for Nuclear Research) and the data generated by its massive Hadron Collider; to individual academics’ research data.

Predictability for Service Providers


Solution Components

Software-Defined Storage

Storage Hardware

  • 12 Dell R730xd servers
  • Dell R430s Connector nodes

Third-Party Applications


The SURFdrive service offers secure, reliable cloud storage to students, faculty and researchers across SURF’s member organizations.

Originally built on RedHat® Gluster, SURFdrive was immobilized by unacceptable, days-long episodes of downtime as that legacy system ineffectively struggled to serve subscribers, while rebalancing data. Scality RING topped IBM Spectrum Scale™ as the ultimate replacement solution and was installed to best support SURFsara’s aggressive zero-downtime prerequisites and scalability requirements. This year will see additional subscribers and aggressive expansion into medical center recruitment. SURFsara will also deploy new data centers spanning three geographical locations, all using Scality RING.


“During our selection process, we were in touch with colleagues abroad. We asked what they used—we didn’t want to risk choosing another bad solution.”

Ron Trompert, PhD Group Leader for Online Data Services, SURFsara

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