ITMO’s Team Works on Impenetrable Data Storage Systems

Recently, a team from ITMO University won the Russian Federation Government grant on developing a system for operating a geographically distributed data storage and processing center that will make use of quantum technologies for protecting its communication channels. The project has yet no counterparts in the world. The project's initiator was the Smarts Company that deals in telecommunication networks and high-reliability communications services; ITMO University will conduct the R&D work.

The project will be comprised of five stages. First of all, it is necessary to create software packages for operating geographically distributed data processing centers. These software packages will be based on software-defined networking and network function virtualization technologies. During the next stage, a quantum technology for protecting communication channels will be introduced to this system. This technology has already been developed, and just has to be adapted for this particular application. Also, some work on the centers' infrastructures will also be conducted by the Bi Pitron Company — the project's other contractor.

"Why is creating this system so important for geographically distributed centers in particular? Nowadays, large organizations set up their geographically distributed centers in different cities of the same country, in different countries or even on different continents. And increasing the efficiency of using the aggregate resources of a distributed system is most relevant. What's more, geographical distribution increases the reliability and stability against both man-triggered and natural disasters and other emergencies", shares Oleg Sadov, key member of the "Networking Technologies in Distributed Computer Systems" laboratory.

In ITMO's and Smart's project, the cutting-edge technology of quantum protection will be used in a particular infrastructure with real users, which is a most important step to introducing innovative solutions into everyday life.

"Quantum protection is based on the laws of physics stating that one can't read a photon's condition twice: after the first interaction, it will change, and the second attempt will give a different result, which will allow to momentarily detect the interception attempt. Thus, information that is transferred as single-photon laser impulses along fiber-optical communications channels is protected from any attack, and hacking such systems goes against the laws of physics", notes Artur Gleim, CEO of the Quantum Communications Company which was created on the base of ITMO University and develops systems of protected quantum networks.

The university's team develops systems that allow using the latest technologies in traditional communication networks — which means creating module solutions that can be introduced into existing systems without modifying them. This becomes possible by using software-configurable solutions and virtualizing resources, explains Sergei Khoruzhnikov, Dean of the Faculty of Infocommunication Technologies.

Thus, the project's developers aim at a new level of interacting with the end user, when different capabilities can be combined and scaled per individual requirements. Some technical details of the process will remain hidden from the users, yet, even during equipment's maintenance or modification, the systems will still remain accessible.

ITMO University. Oleg Sadov, Andrei Shevel, ArturGleim and Sergei Khoruzhnikov

A great amount of expenses on computer infrastructure goes to data storage systems. The system developed by ITMO's specialists will allow making the process safer and using the necessary resources more effectively.

According to Sergei Khoruzhnikov, the system has no counterparts: the team develops a complete technology of an impregnable, effectively managed geographically distributed data center, as opposed to separate elements that other researchers work on.

"By the end of the three-year grant we have to present a prototype of the whole system. Then, our invention will be introduced in real economic sector. What is more, we will also get the opportunity to teach our students using a successfully working technology as an example", adds Sergei Khoruzhnikov.

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