RIKEN is a research and development institution, almost entirely funded by the Japanese government. RIKEN conducts research across several fields including physics, chemistry, biology, medical science, engineering, high-performance computing, and computational science. Initially established as a private research foundation in Tokyo in 1917, RIKEN
became a national research and development institute in 2015. It currently works with 500 partners worldwide and has over 3,000 employees working at several campuses and centers throughout Japan.
The Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science
The Nishina Center is one of RIKEN’s sites, and was established in 2006, based on the pioneering physics research done by Dr. Yoshio Nishina starting in 1931. The Nishina Center operates the RI Beam Factory (RIBF), an advanced cyclotron complex used to accelerate ions by 70 percent of the speed of light. Over the years, the center has promoted accelerator-based science in Japan and maintained its position as the world’s front runner in this field. One of its greatest achievements came in 2016 when the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially approved the RIKEN Nishina Center’s discovery of nihonium – the 113th chemical element. The name comes from the common Japanese name for Japan (nihon). The Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science is now one of the most advanced research centers in the world for nuclear physics and consists of four divisions:
• Nuclear Science and Transmutation Research Division
• Research Facility Development Division
• Accelerator Application Division
• Subnuclear System Research Division
“PRTG shows the network through a smart interface that allows us to identify any potential issues before they arise. As such, it has now become an indispensable tool to support the success of our research.”
Dr Akito Uchiyama, Technical Scientist
The system requires stability at a high level
The Nishina Center’s IT infrastructure for the RIBF control system is under immense pressure to be running effectively 24/7. If the network stops for a single day, it would be extremely costly and potentially lead to the loss of information relating to the life-changing research happening within the center. The Nishina Center’s team knew it needed to do more to prevent issues from occurring and guarantee the stability of its network environment. The center decided to reinforce its monitoring system to reduce risk and keep its life-changing research going.
Finding a suitable solution for managing the RIBF
The Nishina Center had previously been using Nagios to monitor the RIBF control system, however technical scientist, Dr Akito Uchiyama decided to look for an alternative solution that was easier to manage and more cost effective. RIKEN trialed PRTG, among other solutions, before implementing Paessler’s PRTG. Following the trials, Dr Uchiyama found that PRTG had superior set-up and visualization processes that delivered a better user experience, making it a must-have tool for himself and the team. PRTG has been successfully implemented by The RIKEN Nishina Center to concurrently monitor the servers, virtual environment, physical servers, network bandwidth and NetFlow for its accelerator facilities. Everything, from power supplies to computer control systems, is now being monitored by Paessler’s leading software.
RIKEN Nishina Center appreciates PRTG’s usability
Dr Uchiyama said, “We underwent a rigorous process that saw us test a number of solutions before we turned to PRTG. We found that PRTG delivers high visibility, in-depth reporting, and a level of usability that other vendors cannot match. What’s more, I can monitor the network from my smartphone via VPN, whilst on the move.” RIKEN’s team is enjoying the simplicity provided by PRTG. Dr Uchiyama is able to regularly check the system, even from home, without compromising on the level of detail contained within his reports (e.g. network traffic breakdown). As the accelerator’s control network is a closed system with no internet access, Dr Uchiyama regularly monitors the network remotely and sets “Read-only” client operators at night to monitor in his place.
In addition, Dr Uchiyama found the PRTG system is easy to set up and to use, truly revolutionizing the network monitoring experience. Dr Uchiyama said, “Thanks to PRTG we are able to visualize the network very easily. PRTG shows the network through a smart interface that allows us to identify any potential issues before they arise. As such, it has now become an indispensable tool to support the success of our research.”