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Centrally Provided Digital Storage Space

Information Technology Standards
Centrally Provided Digital Storage Space
Updated October 2010
Owner: Chris Ward

Section 1. Overview

1.1 Purpose, Scope, and Objectives
Enterprise storage space is centrally managed by Information Technology to provide a safe place for all faculty, staff, and students to store their data. This secure storage is backed up regularly and is accessible from both on- and off- campus. In April 2010, student email was moved to WMapps hosted by Google.  At Google students have 7 gigs of email storage and 1 gig of document storage included for each account.

1.2 Assumptions and Constraints
If central storage is the optimum solution, IT will provide installation and configuration of the storage, as well as engineering or help desk assistance in using it. Central IT storage is made available via a high availability storage area network (SAN) located in a secure, environmentally controlled machine room. All equipment is protected by a backup power generator and specialized fire suppression systems. While the SAN is extremely reliable, IT also maintains extensive backups to recover from data loss due to accident or disaster. IT performs nightly incremental and weekly full backups to tape of all systems. The full backup tapes are rotated to an offsite secure location every week. Central departmental and individual shared space is designed to support the average needs of maintaining and sharing routine information such as documents, templates, a minimum number of images, and other data. Huge data sets, video, music, or archived images should be considered special projects and have their own storage location. Storage and quotas on the following accounts and/or services are either exempt or defined in other Information Technology Standards.

  • W&M email accounts (a separate quota is in place - currently 1 gig for faculty and staff )
  • Blackboard courses sites (no quota)
  • Banner output (stored on the U: drive)
  • The W&M Public (P: drive) space
  • Database server space

1.3 Evolution of Standard
Storage costs have dropped significantly in recent years, but demand for storage has increased even more dramatically than prices have dropped. It is important that the College of William and Mary establish a fair and sustainable standard to insure that adequate, secure storage is available for future growth. This policy is a key component of planning for that future need.

Section 2. Description

2.1 General Principles
Information Technology will consult with departments and individuals to assist in determining the best storage solution for projects and applications. Information Technology provides enterprise storage using three levels of service. Version 2.0 revision is due the the lower cost of storage as such, the annual charge for extra storage has been reduced from $10.00 per gig to $3.00 per gig. Version 3.0 increases the quota available to Instructional Faculty from 1 gig to 5 gigs.

Level One
Level One service is available to all faculty, staff and students, and is provided by IT at no charge. The basic storage allocation in Level One service is intended to meet the needs of at least 80% of all users. An enhanced storage allocation is available by request from the Technology Support Center at 221-HELP or support@wm.edu. Level One service includes:

  • individual shared server space (including space provided for personal web sites)
  • departmental shared space (referred to as the Group or G: drive)
  • departmental and organizational web space on the W&M web server (www.wm.edu)

Level Two
Level Two service is used by a broad range of students, faculty, and staff for research, special projects, and other College-wide initiatives. No free storage is automatically allocated for Level Two needs. Faculty, staff, and students who need additional storage beyond their personal and group allocations are encouraged to make a request to Information Technology, and funding will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Support at this level is generally paid for with a combination of IT funds and additional funds directed from the Deans or Provost.

Level Three
Level Three service is storage provided to individual departments, programs, faculty members, or researchers and is completely funded for by the department or grant that requires the additional storage space. IT also offers hosting services for departments, programs, or researchers that need assistance in maintaining application servers.

2.2 Guidelines/Procedures

Cost
Level One service is available to all faculty, staff and students, and is provided by IT at no charge. The base rate for Level Two or Level Three storage is $3/GB per year. This fee includes storage space, and associated services such as engineering, backup and archive, account management, and security.

Departments and individuals may purchase additional storage space in increments of one gigabite. Charges for storage space that is allocated but not used are not refunded.

 Level OneLevels Two and Three
  Basic Amount/Cost Enhanced Amount/Cost Additional Storage/Cost
Students 250 MBS $0.00 500 MBS $0.00 > 500 MBS $3.00/GB
Staff 500 MBS $0.00 1 GB $0.00 > 1 GB $3.00/GB
Instructional Faculty 500 MBS $0.00 5 GBS $0.00 > 5 GBS $3.00/GB
Departments 20 GBS $0.00     > 20 GBS $3.00/GB
Web Server

750 MBS

$0.00 1 GB $0.00 > 1 GB $3.00/GB
Streaming Server and Special Projects         any amount

$3.00/GB


Requests for Level Two and Three Storage
Contact the Technology Support Center at 221-HELP or [[support]].

Section 3. References

Related IT Standard: Hosting Services
IT has the capacity to host departmental servers.  With the improvement in virtual server technology, the solution may be to operate a virtual rather than physical server.  Virtual servers are usually less expensive than physical servers. This service will reduce the overhead and responsibility associated with running a server-based application without taking away the advantages to the department of the departmentally run service. Charges are determined by the complexity of the applications and are established by Memorandum of Understanding between IT and the Department.

Related IT Standard: Database Environment
Both MySQL and Oracle are available in the W&M database environment. IT will review the database requirements of departments and individuals and consult on the use of either MySQL or Oracle. While there is no predetermined quota, the size of MySQL and Oracle databases is monitored because efficiency may be affected.

Section 4. Definitions

Departmental Shared Space: IT will allocate disk space in specially designated locations for departmental use. Such space will be beyond those limits that apply to individual faculty or staff space. Space will be allocated for a department, with shared permissions for the faculty and staff to this area. This space is readable and writeable by everyone in the department. A single point of contact must be named as the responsible person for this space. The departmental contact will receive email alerts as the departmental quota is approached so that files can be removed or additional allocation purchased.

The W&M Public ("P:") Space: Faculty and Staff have access to read, write, delete, change, or otherwise do as they will with any files stored on the Public (P:) drive. (Students have read access to one section of the Public space) The public drive is intended to provide a temporary storage option for files that are not sensitive or confidential. While there is no storage quota for the public drive, IT engineers will purge files from this drive several times each year.

Enterprise Storage: The enterprise storage service provided by IT is a secure, centralized repository for information that enables W&M to store, retrieve, manage, protect, and share information from all major computing environments, including UNIX, Windows, and mainframe platforms. Enterprise storage has four focus areas - storage, backup, archiving, and disaster recovery.

SAN: A SAN is a storage area network designed to attach computer storage devices such as disk array controllers and tape libraries to servers. SANs are common in enterprise storage.

Department: In general, departments are defined as either administrative or academic units. While Schools at W&M (e.g., Education, Arts and Sciences) are comprised of individual departments. IT will work with representatives of Arts and Sciences, Education, Law, and Business to understand the organizational structure when determining quotas.