The University College London (UCL) has taken the decision to build both a data storage and private cloud infrastructure in order to house research.
UCL has made the decision due to the ever-growing archive of research it maintains, which currently holds the work of over 3,000 UCL researchers and their collaborators. The new facility will initially have a 600 terabyte capacity, but the capacity will be increased over the coming years to keep it ahead of the storage requirements.
With research data being raw and unprocessed it is important that it is stored in a manner that allows researchers easy access, and the digital revolution has seen data storage move from paper resources, through 3.5” disks, videos, CDs and onto localised hard drives. With the diversity of mediums that the data is stored on there is a concern that some of the mediums could become extinct, risking the loss of the data for future researchers.
Project leader Dr J Max Wilkinson, the head of research data services at UCL, had this to say: “The research data that is generated here is a valuable asset ….and we see it as our responsibility in supporting our researchers in managing these data. One of the reasons for choosing to build a private cloud was due to the type of data being produced.”
“Research data is raw, it is unstructured, it passes across all domains and format types, it can be unpredictable and it can belong to virtually any field of study,” he added.
The 600 terabyte data capacity is anticipated to be more than sufficient for the short term, but UCL is aware that history is littered with IT projects where the final capacity has been more than was thought to be needed and that these projects are now not fit for purpose. In order to avoid this situation it has chosen a delivery platform for its private cloud infrastructure that is scalable, allowing UCL to make additions to the data capacity easily, as and when required.
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