New research data storage

The latest BITS magazine for University of Edinburgh staff (Issue 8, Autumn/ Winter 2013) contains a lead article on new data storage facilities that Information Services have recently procured and will be making available to researchers for their research data management.

“The arrival of the RDM storage and its imminent roll out is an exciting step in the development of our new set of services under the Research Data Management banner. Ensuring that the service we deploy is fair, useful and t transparent are key principles for the IS team.” John Scally

 

Information Services is very pleased to announce that our new Research Data Storage hardware has been safely delivered.

Following a competitive procurement process, a range of suppliers were selected to provide the various parts of the infrastructure, incl. Dell, NetApp, Brocade and Cisco. The bulk of the order was assembled over the summer in China and shipped to the King’s Buildings campus at the end of August. Since then IT Infrastructure staff have been installing, testing and preparing the storage for roll-out.

How good is the storage?
Information Services recognises the importance of the University’s research data and has procured enterprise-class storage infrastructure to underpin the programme of Research
Data services. The infrastructure ranges from the highest class of flash-storage (delivering 375,000 IO operations per second) to 1.6PB (1 Petabyte = 1,024 Terabytes) of bulk storage arrays. The data in the Research Data Management (RDM) file-store is automatically replicated to an off-site disaster facility and also backed up with a 60-day retention period, with 10 days of file history visible online.

Who qualifies for an allocation?
Every active researcher in the University! This is an agreement between the University and the researcher to provide quality active data storage, service support and long term curation for researchers. This is for all researchers, not just Principal Investigators or those in receipt of external grants to fund research.

When do I get my allocation?
We are planning to roll out to early adopter Schools and institutes late November this year. This is dependent on all of the quality checks and performance testing on the system being completed successfully, however, confidence is high that the deadline will be met.
The early adopters for the initial service roll-out are: School of GeoSciences, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, and the Centre for Population Health
Sciences. Phased roll-out to all areas of the University will follow.

How much free allocation will I receive?
The University has committed 0.5TB (500GB) of high quality storage with guaranteed backup and resilience to every active researcher. The important principle at work is that the 0.5TB is for the individual researcher to use primarily to store their active research data. This ensures that they can work in a high quality and resilient environment and, hopefully, move valuable data from potentially unstable local drives. Research groups
and Schools will be encouraged to pool their allocations in order to facilitate shared data management and collaboration.

This formula was developed in close consultation with College and School representatives; however, there will be discipline differences in how much storage is required and individual need will not be uniform. A degree of flexibility will be built into the
allocation model and roll-out, though if researchers go over their 0.5TB free allocation they will have to pay.

Why is the University doing this?
The storage roll-out is one component of a suite of existing and planned services known as our Research Data Management Initiative. An awareness raising campaign accompanies the storage allocation to Schools, units and individuals to
encourage best practice in research data management planning and sharing.

Research Data Management support services:
www.ed.ac.uk/is/data-management

University’s Research Data Management Policy:
www.ed.ac.uk/is/research-data-policy

BITS magazine (Issue 8, Autumn/ Winter 2013)
http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/information-services/about/news/edinburgh-bits

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