Big Data | News

U Florida Wins Big Data Appliance Donation

The University of Florida (UF) has received a donation of a $500,000 "big data" machine from IBM. PureData for Analytics is a purpose-built analytic appliance that allows researchers to pull in data from multiple sources for processing, analysis and reporting. The system arrived in the summer and is just now going online for institutional use.

The appliance includes a combination of hardware and software for handling database management, server activities, storage and advanced analytics and is designed for rapid and deep analysis of very large structured datasets. The hardware — including eight S-blades — has capacity for 48 terabytes of raw storage split into three sections: user data, mirrored user data and swap space. According to the university, a query involving 10 million to 100 million records, which would normally take about 27 hours to process, can be done in just a few seconds with PureData.

Data will come from multiple sources, including applications from IBM, Oracle and SAP. Analysis and reporting will be handled by a number of tools as well, including Cognos, SPSS and Unica from IBM, as well as Information Builders, Microsoft Excel, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, SAP Business Objects and SAS, among others.

"This is a great day for the University of Florida," said Elias Eldayrie, vice president and CIO of UF Information Technology. "The processing and analysis of our faculty's research has been greatly increased, meaning their important work in health care, climatology and other critical areas makes it into the global conversation faster. We have faculty conducting brain injury research. We have faculty studying how oil spills impact the fisheries along the Gulf of Mexico, and so many more projects of significant state and worldwide impact. Their research in these fields of study can get to the marketplace quicker thanks to the computing abilities we now have in place at [the university]."

The new appliance is being managed by UF Research Computing and will be available both to the university's own research as well as scientific organizations and government agencies that sponsor UF's $339 million research portfolio.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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