University of Toronto Uses Auspex File Server to Simplify Student Computing

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Auspex Systems, Inc. announced today that the University of Toronto at Mississauga is using an Auspex network server to enable its 6,400 students to retrieve computer-based homework, papers, research and class assignments from any location on or off campus.

Consolidating files on a single Network Attached Storage (NAS) system has eliminated the need for students to carry files on floppy disks or restrict themselves to working at one of the campus’s nine computing centers. The system also has significantly reduced maintenance tasks.

“The Auspex network server has simplified data storage and retrieval for our students and reduced the administrative burden on our IT staff,” said Joe Lim, manager of computing services at the university’s Mississauga campus. “Faculty members now want access to the same system, and we plan to double the storage capacity of our Auspex machine from 500 gigabytes to 1 terabyte in the near future to accommodate the extra users as well as to increase the space allocated to each student.”

Before the university adopted the Auspex system, students had to file academic materials on floppy disks or on a local server that could be accessed only from the computer center where that server was located. Both scenarios caused problems.

Floppy disk storage was problematic because many files were too large to fit on a single disk and because the floppies themselves were subject to corruption. Local storage prevented students from working at different computer centers as they moved around campus, and it also added to IT staff workload because maintenance and backup tasks had to be repeated on multiple machines. In addition, the university lacked sufficient local storage capacity to serve each student.

Today, all student work files are centrally housed on the Auspex server, with 10 MB of storage space reserved for each user. Students can access needed information from any Windows or UNIX desktop on campus as well as download and upload assignments from home.
The storage of all files on one server instead of nine has substantially reduced maintenance tasks, made it practical to back up the entire storage system every night, and enabled the IT team to easily save the backup for a week to aid students who may inadvertently delete a file.

“This application is a classic example of the advantages of centralizing file storage,” said Alain Lortie, regional sales manager for Auspex Systems. “By abandoning decentralized storage and moving to our network storage model, the University of Toronto at Mississauga has gained major efficiencies for its computer services staff as well as increasing convenience for students.”

Auspex network servers are used around the world to store and manage databases, e-mail, rich media, medical images, biotechnology research, seismic files and other kinds of enterprise information. Auspex storage appliances offer industry-leading performance and scalability, native UNIX and Windows support for fast and secure cross-platform file sharing, and an exclusive parallel architecture that delivers the market’s fastest backup.

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