Queensland Brain Institute Increases Archive Capacity, Supports Limitless Innovation and Increases Data Response Speeds by 66%
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Queensland Brain Institute Increases Archive Capacity, Supports Limitless Innovation and Increases Data Response Speeds by 66%

Established in 2003, Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) is a leading center for neuroscience research. It is one of the University of Queensland’s flagship research facilities with a growing team of almost 300 research neuroscientists across 33 laboratories. QBI’s research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate brain function to aid development of new therapeutic treatments for neurological and mental disorders.

QBI’s storage system has to scale extensively to enable the institute to store, protect, and access tens of terabytes of data daily to support cutting-edge research. Its legacy tape technology could not provide ongoing, reliable, and timely access to research data or sufficient data density to support limitless innovation. QBI needed an economical, extremely scalable, fast, and secure alternative to its legacy tape libraries and tape drives within its tiered, storage architecture.

In 2010, QBI upgraded the server, tape library, and metadata storage in its Oracle Optimized Solution for Tiered Storage Infrastructure, replacing smaller components with two larger, faster and more highly-available StorageTek SL3000 modular library systems from Oracle. It also upgraded its legacy servers to Oracle’s Sun Fire X4270 servers for greater reliability, and with Oracle’s Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe Card for exponentially faster daily metadata backups. In 2012, to further enhance its tiered storage architecture, QBI implemented 10 StorageTek T10000C tape drives from Oracle to replace its much lower-capacity legacy Quantum LTO4 tape drives.

QBI can now offer its users highly scalable storage capacity and continuous availability. In addition, it realized an average improvement of 30% more data compression, 66% faster response time, 99% faster metadata backup, and peace of mind regarding data security. The solution also improved QBI’s ability to grow, attract world-leading scientists, and meet stringent funding conditions.

66% Faster Data Retrieval Enhances Scientists’ Workflows

A word from Queensland Brain Institute

  • “We chose Oracle’s StorageTek solutions over the competition because no other company can offer the same tape storage density, data integrity validation and data assurance technology. The scale, capacity, and economy of the Oracle Optimized Solution for tiered storage Infrastructure using Oracle’s StorageTek SL3000 modular library system and Oracle’s StorageTek T10000C tape drive offers our users scalable storage and 66% faster data response time than our previous tape technology.” – Jake Carroll, Senior Information Technology Manager, Queensland Brain Institute

Researchers can retrieve their data 66% faster with StorageTek T10000C tape drive, enhancing workflow and productivity. With legacy tape technology, retrieving a 15 gigabyte confocal microscopy image from LTO4 tape drives took 125 seconds. The same files now load on a user’s desktop in 42 seconds. As an optimized solution, all components are known to work together, further increasing data access.

“StorageTek T10000C retrieves data much, much faster than our legacy system. We’ve witnessed compressed read and write rates of 350 megabytes per second, which significantly accelerates file retrieval and archiving times,” said Jake Carroll, senior information technology manager, QBI.

By implementing Oracle’s Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe Card, QBI can complete metadata backups in just 12 minutes per file system, instead of 22 hours—99% faster—greatly enhancing performance and substantially reducing recovery point objective.

Superior Throughput and 30% Improved Compression Supports Genomic Sequencing

Safe Archiving Protects Research Data and Ensures Compliance with Funding Conditions

Continuous Access to Data Enables Uninterrupted Research

Tape Technology in Tiered Storage Reduces Costs

Competitive Advantage Through Improved Access and Storage Capacity




  • Improve productivity and enhance scientists’ confidence by ensuring safe storage and rapid retrieval of research data by means of an integrated solution with documented performance results
  • Eliminate disruption to research activities caused by system failures and scheduled and unscheduled downtimes
  • Support sophisticated, high-throughput scientific instruments and growth initiatives while minimizing storage and data center space requirements
  • Ensure compliance with stringent research funding conditions and secure a competitive advantage


  • Retrieved data 66% faster with StorakeTek SAM and StorageTek T10000C tape drive, increasing scientists’ productivity
  • Slashed daily metadata backup time by 99%—completing the process in 12 minutes instead of 22 hours—thanks to Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe Card
  • Increased average compression rate from 1.5x to 2x, and compression of genomic sequencing files from 5x to 12x, further enhancing storage capacity
  • Enhanced the safety and reliability of valuable research data by using StorageTek T10000C’s Data Integrity Validation feature in conjunction with StorageTek SAM to protect against data loss or corruption
  • Provided continuous access to research data with StorageTek SAM and StorageTek SL3000 modular library system
  • Guaranteed sufficient storage and reduced costs by using a tiered storage solution, rather than a completely disk-based solution
  • Minimized data center footprint and power consumption, saving five to six racks of space and 15,000 watts of power in real time by using Oracle’s tape technologies in a tiered storage environment
  • Ensured long-term data safety and accessibility to comply with funding conditions
  • Realized a competitive advantage by increasing storage capacity economically with efficiency and security to support growth initiatives and attract leading scientists

Why Oracle

QBI chose the Oracle Optimized Solution for Tiered Storage Infrastructure because it has deep confidence in the engineers who created the StorageTek SAM software and in the optimized solution’s tried and tested reliability.

QBI chose StorageTek T10000C over LTO6 tape drives from IBM and HP because it offers better capacity and is better suited to QBI’s high-throughput environment. In addition, StorageTek SAM, together with StorageTek T10000C’s DIV feature, assures the integrity of all data no matter how old. It selected Oracle’s StorageTek SL3000 modular library system over competitor products because of its scalability and high availability. QBI also had great trust in the capabilities and responsiveness of its local Oracle support team after seven to eight years of working together.

“At the moment, Oracle is the only company that can offer archive and hierarchical storage management software, tape library, and drive products with this specific data integrity validation and data assurance technology, and with this level of tape and storage density,” Carroll said.

Implementation Process

QBI implemented StorageTek SL3000 and Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe Card in 2010. The organization took delivery of 10 StorageTek T10000C tape drives in November 2012 and had them running in just two weeks.

Oracle Premier Support assisted in the installation of the tape drives, system testing and tuning.

“Oracle’s very experienced StorageTek local site engineers provided invaluable assistance and were highly responsive to our needs at all times,” Carroll said.