Research carried out as part of the collaboration will offer Vault's customers a high-performance cloud that can provide diverse AI, machine learning, deep learning, high-performance computing and accelerated computing workloads, while offering an ASD-certified cloud service.
Dr Maruf Ahmed of Vault and Dr Farookh Khadeer Hussain, a cloud computing expert from UTS School of Software, UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT, will head the research effort.
Vault uses the open-source OpenStack architecture and any enhancements developed will be built into the company's cloud offering.
The CSIRO, UTS and Vault will together contribute more than $500,000 to pay for the research grant and additional hardware over the three-year duration of the research.
“Many Australians don’t realise that most advanced AI capability of large cloud providers is hosted overseas and can be subject to foreign law. This announcement is a major step towards enhancing Australia’s sovereign capability and protecting Australians.”
Dr Ahmed will work with the software layers that provide access to this accelerated hardware.
“Cloud technology and data security have always been a fascination of mine. As more data moves to a cloud environment, privacy, security, and sovereignty should become a major focal point,” he said.
“My research here at Vault seeks to uncover new ways of maximising software, like OpenStack, to provide quicker data analytics and solutions than previously possible on an ASD-certified Protected cloud."
The collaboration also aims to engineer a fully automated deployment of the Vault architecture in a virtualised environment. The challenge Dr Ahmed faces will be to use advanced bypass mechanisms in the Linux kernel to remove software layers and provide more direct access to the storage, network and computer hardware.
Last year, Vault worked with NVIDIA to release the beta of its latest generation AI-capable hardware, which included Tesla V100 GPUs – an Australian cloud first.
“Vault customers get access to the full performance of NVIDIA’s latest platform for machine learning workloads,” said Christoph Dwertmann, chief technology officer at Vault Cloud.
Jason Barkla of CSIRO said: “Investing in new technologies and leading-edge translational research is vital if Australia wants to be at the forefront of global innovation.
“While private organisations are constantly looking at ways to speed up the way data can be analysed on the cloud, the research conducted by Dr Ahmed and Vault with the support of a Science and Industry Endowment Fund STEM⁺Business Fellowship grant will be integral to achieving this.”
Dr Ahmed will work out of the Vault Canberra office and Customer Experience Centre, which was opened on 5 November 2018. Vault is one of six cloud providers certified to store Australian Government data which is classified at the highest level.