Mass Storage

Early in the initial planning for digital content infrastructure at Yale, ODAI (now YDC2), in collaboration with the Libraries, Museums, and Information Technology Systems, understood that mass storage would be an essential component of the infrastructure needed to address the rapidly expanding volume of digital content at Yale. After a considerable investigation the group determined that purchasing and implementing the Isilon storage system would be the best first step toward shared storage infrastructure.

In 2008 the collaborators engaged in a process to select the initial storage component to advance programs digitizing cultural heritage materials across the libraries and museums. The storage system needed to support the long-term storage of digital content as well as the application needs of an envisioned digital asset management system that would be deployed to support workflow and management activities. They established these initial criteria.

  1. Perform to Yale’s specifications within Yale’s IT environment
    a) Scalable to petabyte scale
    b) High fault tolerance
    c) Easy to use management console and operating system
  2. Rapid provisioning of storage volumes
    a) Network connectivity through NFS and CIFS
    b) Synchronization through replication and/or automated copy
    c) Snapshot and backup capability
    d) Restore capability to meet business continuity requirements
  3. Ease of management to reduce ongoing costs
  4. Simplicity in design
  5. Extensibility of system to support interoperation with a greatest variety of other systems
  6. Financially sound company with a strong success and support record
  7. Affordable price point

Institutional Infrastructure for Data Intensive Scientific ComputingYale made the decision to purchase redundant Isilon IQ NL series clusters and by July of 2009 an initial capacity to store and replicate 180TB was in place. The storage team, in the Production Services group of ITS, administers, hosts, and monitors the service around the clock. The system currently supports safe storage needs of the Yale Digital Commons and is core to the operations of the Media Management Environment, Discover Yale Digital Content, and the Institutional Repository.

As stated earlier, the Isilon mass storage system was the best first step to take. It provides shared infrastructure with sufficient capacity to keep up with the rapidly expanding digital outputs of the cultural heritage community. As new units join the collaboration it is understood that additional capabilities will be needs of the expanding collaboration. Efforts are currently under way to continue to define a cohesive and comprehensive storage approach to support the full spectrum of needs across the academic content of the institution.