The Dternity NAS Helps the Fighting Irish Build a Better Archive

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The University of Notre Dame, based in South Bend, Indiana is a world class university with students that represent all 50 states and over 100 countries. Rigorous academics, NCAA Division I athletics, and numerous events and activities create an environment in which students are ignited with a passion to learn and to live to their fullest capacity.

Consistently ranked in the Top 25 institutions of higher learning by US News & World Report, Notre Dame has over 10,000 students, 4 colleges, 67 undergraduate programs, more than 50 graduate programs, and is home to the famous Fighting Irish Football team that draws fans from all around the world.

The Challenge

“The mission of the Office of IT is to serve as the trusted IT partner to all the Faculty, Staff and Students” says Mike Anderson, Storage Engineer at the University of Notre Dame. “It can be very difficult to satisfy their increasing demands for storage”. Historically IT was responsible for providing enterprise class storage for students, faculty and staff. This was primarily for user accounts, database and email. Large file storage was discouraged and requests for such storage were often denied. “Sometimes we would get requests from a department to store 100 TB or more” says Mike Anderson. “We simply did not have a solution that could accommodate a large archive at that point”.

“We needed an affordable storage solution that could scale to beyond a petabyte and provide data protection to all archived content”
– Mike Anderson, Storage Engineer at the University of Notre Dame

By 2014 it was clear to IT that something had to change. Requests for large file storage was growing and so was the need to archive them. Primary sources of this big data were the Athletics Department that was using more and more cameras to film all their games. Another source was the ever growing University Archives that was making an official effort to digitize and preserve historical data for future use. “We needed an affordable storage solution that could scale to beyond a petabyte and provide data protection to all archived content” said Mike Anderson.

The Solution

“After evaluating many solutions we decided to go with the Dternity NAS and Media Cloud replication service”. The solution is built to fit into existing environments and deliver the simplicity of networks shares along with the superior economics of tape. Notre Dame’s IT department was able to re-purpose their existing tape library as a scale-out NAS using the Dternity appliance.

The athletics department and the university archives could all be given their own CIFS shares that plugged right into their workflows. The easy scalability quickly meets the ever-growing demand for capacity. Data recovery is automatically provided through replication to the Dternity Media Cloud. The Media Cloud is an offsite storage service that store two additional copies of Notre Dame’s content, giving them a total of 3 copies across two geographic locations.

As a starting configuration, Notre Dame built an archive designed to hold at least 750 TB using the Dternity NAS paired with a Spectra Logic LTO-6 library with replication to the Dternity Media Cloud service for added offsite protection.

The Benefits

To date, the IT team has seen an overall decrease in administrative time associated with backing up and archiving research data. Dternity simplifies data protection and disaster recovery by managing multiple file copies without requiring an additional backup application. There has been immediate cost savings already, and as the amount of data in the Dternity grows, the cost savings grows with it. It is significantly cheaper to keep archive data on tape as opposed to disk. Not to mention the security benefits now that less of the information that is supposed to be in the archive is being stored by users on flash drives and other user solutions. “Capacity and scalability were obviously very important to us, but Dternity provided so much more”, said Anderson. “Our customers are happy that their data is automatically copied offsite, and I never have to worry because our archive is fully protected for decades to come”. “The best thing though is how easily automated Dternity is and that our team for the most part never has to touch tape”.


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When it Comes to Video Surveillance, Active Archive Solutions Can Address the “Transparency Paradox”

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By Rich Gadomski
V.P. Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

Have you ever noticed the grainy quality of surveillance footage shown on the local news broadcasts? Some unfortunate citizen is getting assaulted after making an ATM withdrawal and you feel like you’re watching a 1930s Charlie Chaplin rerun. The reason for this is that most organizations charged with surveilling public places can’t afford to do so in high resolution and certainly can’t afford to keep the surveillance content for any considerable period of time. Yet wouldn’t it be nice to easily ID the suspect and maybe go back to other video databases to see if there’s a pattern occurring over time?

As a society we want better security and swifter justice. We have the technology to achieve this but we don’t necessarily have the budget. The good news is that a record number of surveillance cameras are shipping year after year. They are also becoming more affordable and resolutions are steadily increasing to include 4K or better.

In fact, demand for video surveillance systems is continuing to explode driven by several factors including increased security threats, legislation, IoT applications, law enforcement applications and increasing affordability of surveillance cameras.

All of this is taking place at a time when society is demanding more transparency into what is happening in our public places and in law enforcement actions. This has resulted in a steady increase in evidentiary content from facility security cameras to body worn cameras, dashboard cameras, interview room audio and video recordings, cell phone data and others. This proliferation of surveillance technology has given rise to the “transparency paradox” where the public demands more recorded evidence which creates the need for more data storage. But we only have limited budgets that can’t handle the increasing data retention burdens.

This is where the concept of an active archive comes into focus providing a solution where organizations can afford to maintain online access to all of their surveillance content in a multi-tiered storage system that leverages the speed of flash and disk with the superior economics of tape. In a typical active archive environment, the file system extends across all storage tiers from primary flash/disk to long term, economy tape storage. Content moves by policy from high cost primary storage to low cost, long term storage. Typically this means LTFS LTO tape featuring the highest capacity, longest archival life, highest reliability and lowest total cost of ownership.

With an active archive in place, organizations can easily and cost effectively maintain more surveillance content at higher resolutions for longer retention periods and can maintain this on-premises to safely control chain of custody.

Expect demand for active archives to solve the “transparency paradox.” It should make the local news more engaging too!

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New Data Storage TCO Calculator Helps Compare Costs Across Various Platforms

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Kevin Benitez
Product Marketing Manager
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc

A major challenge for IT professionals is estimating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) across various storage platforms. To save costs many large enterprises are turning to a combination of storage platforms while others are thinking about completely abandoning their data centers for the cloud. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to factor in all the costs resulting in enterprises getting blindsided by invisible storage costs such as bandwidth, energy, data retrieval, and more. In terms of cost, the cloud may seem very affordable at first, but in reality, when the total cost of ownership is taken into account the costs begin to surge.

If you are thinking about upgrading your data center or abandoning it for the cloud you need to make sure you do the math. Understanding TCO is critically important to any data storage purchase decision since you will be committing to unavoidable costs for many years into the future.

It’s no surprise that the amount of data and content produced is growing by leaps and bounds, that’s why many large enterprises are turning to LTO tape technology for high capacity, reliability, and costs savings.  LTO tape can provide years of protection at a much lower cost than other storage solutions.

Today, tape and disk work together in disk-based storage systems to address different necessities like backup, offline storage, nearline storage, and capture and offload. Tape technology allows data to remain protected in the event of malware or a data security breach while saving data centers thousands of dollars.

Many enterprises spend large amounts of time crunching the numbers. To help you do the math, storage economics expert Brad Johns of Brad Johns Consulting teamed up with Fujifilm to create a free online tool to calculate 5-year and 10-year scenarios for TCO when using automated tape storage, disk-based storage, and cloud-based archive storage.

TCO calculations are based on data entered into the TCO tool and assumptions are made through publicly available sources, such as vendor websites and industry research. By entering the quantity of data loaded in year 1 (TB), the annual growth rate of stored data, and the percent of data retrieved each year, results may be derived. Capacity is acquired as needed, based on the growth rate of stored data. The derived assumptions are based on historical trends and published research as well as the user-specified capacity.

After entering data into the TCO Calculator, users have the option to download a customizable report, which includes an executive summary, key cost assumptions, and TCO by cost category. The report also includes a detailed analysis of cost type (e.g., energy costs, offsite costs, service fees, bandwidth, etc.).

Find out how you can start saving on your data storage costs. Access the free TCO calculator here.

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