Centrally-Managed Storage

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The University runs a highly-resilient centrally-managed storage platform.  Data is held in two highly-protected datacenters in different buildings, and is automatically replicated between them.  Data is then also backed up to tape in a third/fourth building, and is therefore highly resilient to disasters and/or hardware faults.  Saving your files onto the University's centrally-managed storage is therefore much better than any of the following : local hard drives, memory sticks, external hard drives, or a server under your desk!  For examples of systems which use the centrally-managed storage, see the table below.

We have two types of storage : "block storage" and "file storage".  These two terms don't necessarily mean what you might think!  For example, files can be held on "block storage", and "file storage" is still made up of blocks.  The practical differences between these are summarised below :

 

“Block storage”

“File storage”

Replicated between buildings?

Yes

Yes

Backed up to tape in 3rd/4thbuilding?

Yes

Yes

Replication frequency

Real-time (i.e. data is replicated between buildings instantly)

Every 15 mins

Performance

Very fast

Fast

Scalability

Large (currently 180 Terabytes)

Very large (currently 2 Petabytes)

Examples of systems using the storage