To enable students, academics and the public to access its rich library of books, journals and manuscripts, the University of Erfurt has embarked on an initiative to digitize its collections and make them available online.

Aiming to deliver a robust, secure and scalable platform to store and protect large volumes of data, the university engaged SUSE and Fujitsu to deploy a cost-effective software-defined storage solution, powered by SUSE Enterprise Storage.

Overview

One of Germany’s oldest further education institutions, the University of Erfurt was founded in 1379 and today serves a population of 6,000 students. In common with other future-facing institutions, the University of Erfurt is keen to enable students, researchers and the general public to access its rich stores of information more easily. To this end, the institution is digitizing its collections of books, journals and manuscripts, which presents a range of challenges. As well as storing, managing and backing up a large volume of data, the university needs the ability to scale out its infrastructure efficiently within a lean IT budget.

The Challenge

This was the situation facing the Gotha Research Library at the University of Erfurt. In partnership with the Technical University of Ilmenau and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the University of Erfurt aimed to make 500 databases, 9,000 online journals and digital publications and the Bibliotheca Amploniana manuscript collection accessible to the public.

SUSE Solution

Based on more than a decade of positive experiences with SUSE and Fujitsu solutions, the University of Erfurt decided to deploy a software-defined storage platform based on SUSE Enterprise Storage and Fujitsu Server PRIMERGY and PRIMEFLEX disk systems.

Tobias Weller, Data Center Administrator at the University of Erfurt, comments, “SUSE Enterprise Storage gives us the ability to manage our storage infrastructure in a simple, agile way. Crucially, the Ceph technology at the heart of the SUSE platform means we can scale out seamlessly—all we need to do is slot in additional disks.”

He adds, “One of the things that we appreciate most about the SUSE and Fujitsu solution is how easy it is to manage. Because SUSE Enterprise Storage is self-managing and self-healing, there is very little in the way of manual work for IT team.”

The Results

With SUSE and Fujitsu solutions underpinning its digitization initiative, the University of Erfurt and its partners are achieving their objective of making its collection available to students, researchers and the wider public.

“Our long-term archive, built on SUSE Enterprise Storage, enables us to deliver information to researchers and students in an innovative way,” said Tobias Weller. “The Ceph technology that drives the solution means we can scale out in line with our data growth without breaking the bank—a crucial capability for a lean IT department such as ours.”

Tobias Weller concludes, “Throughout our deployment and beyond, Fujitsu and SUSE have provided the support we need to achieve our goals, and the two companies’ commitment to the open-source movement is closely aligned with our own strategy. By making our library available to everyone, we’re living up to our reputation as a modern university—and our Fujitsu and SUSE solutions are what makes it all possible.”