Enhancing Storage Services at Lehigh

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Photo of data center servers

In response to unabated growth in the need for storage capacity and performance, LTS has developed a strategy to increase storage resources four-fold to one petabyte (equal to 1000 TBs) by the summer of 2015. This demand for data storage is fueled by the following trends:

  • • Users who have increasingly complex storage and back-up needs including but not limited to: media content, transactional data, social media, and research data;
  • • A shift from physical storage for library materials (buildings) to high capacity online storage for digital library projects and a new curated institutional archive;
  • • New federal grant requirements for managing and providing long-term open access to data;
  • • Data retention and security policies mandating that administrative departments manage important records in compliance with legal, contractual, and accreditation commitments (see Lehigh’s Records Management and Retention Policy).

We are currently in phase three of our four phase storage strategy:

  • • Phase one was the procurement of a high-performance SAN to support the key growth area of virtualization of critical campus applications;
  • • Phase two is an investment in storage to support digital scholarship and the growing digital library utilizing open-source Ceph software and commodity hardware resulting in significant per TB savings;
  • • Phase three is an in-depth evaluation of Box.com, a secure storage and collaboration solution facilitated through our partnership with Internet2. If our pilot is successful, LTS will roll Box out to the campus in 2014;
  • • Phase four is a 2014-15 strategic priority: to vastly increase storage capacity and performance for campus researchers.

Our storage strategy will improve service to campus in two ways: motivating users to use secure cloud solutions and vastly improving backend LTS storage operations. There is ample evidence on campus of increased use of insecure, personal external hard drives as well as use of non-university sanctioned cloud storage solutions like Dropbox. This has resulted in an increased risk of losing or corrupting critical campus data. From an operations perspective, LTS will continue to invest in Storage Area Network (known commonly as SAN) technologies in order to provide more flexibility, a better of idea of cost, quicker back-ups, a clearer sense of how people are using storage while also helping us standardize some of our current service practice.

Article photo: "NEC-cluster" by Hindermath is licensed under CC ASA 3.0