Centralized Data Storage and Backup Initiative
Project Manager: Eric Silberberg
Purpose, Overview and Background
The purpose of this project is to enable OIT to cost-effectively expand and enhance the centralized data storage and backup services it offers to campus. The project will address data needs within OIT including but not limited to students and staff email; file systems (AFS and NFS), Netware, Windows file services; and Database storage. The project will include current customers of OIT’s Technology Support Services, Infrastructure, Systems and Operations, and Hosted Systems. It also extends to the broader campus to any unit that has a need or desire to access centralized storage. Direct attach fiber channel and network file services are the current platforms. Desktop backup is not currently part of the project, but it may be addressed at a later date.
In recent years NC State has made significant investments to upgrade and expand the centralized data storage and backup capacities the university needs for critical IT functions such as highly reliable university data and file services, email services, mandated data retention, and disaster recovery/business continuity on- and off-site. New equipment includes a large new tape backup library, two virtual tape libraries (VTLs), refreshed storage arrays and updated fiber channel fabric for the storage area network (SAN). OIT currently supports 400-500TB of university data. An equivalent amount is estimated to exist in the colleges, departments and units across the campus. Customers across campus have requested additional storage space and changes in the way files are accessed. A joint effort across OIT and distributed units will be required to meet this need.
The OIT central storage and backup system was developed with an expectation of extending centralized storage to other campus units on an at-cost basis. While some campus customers have access to this service, restrictions in accounting practices and funding models have slowed delivery of the service. In addition, there are inconsistent prices within OIT for storage of email, and file space for AFS, hosted systems and block devices. An accurate and flexible storage model with cost-effective pricing is needed to offer enhanced performance, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for campus customers, and overall university savings. To succeed, this OIT project also needs to address issues related to storage and backup support, documentation, and service level expectations.
Goals and Objectives
Establish a detailed price model for storage to be used for budgeting and capacity planning for OIT internal projects and charged services
- Develop a tiered architecture and services model that balances availability, performance, stability, data protection and costs
- Create simple tiers of services for non-OIT customers that make block level storage and/or file services available offering enterprise class storage and backups with lower departmental costs
- Create a communications channel for storage related projects within OIT and across campus
- Develop a plan to minimize overlap of existing OIT storage technologies to reduce costs and improve manageability
- Create a group to begin the design of the next generation OIT file services model.
- Develop a recurring assessment of the amount, types, growth, location of campus data both centralized and decentralized
- Review existing OIT storage technologies in light of data retention and compliance requirements as well as disaster recovery preparedness
Storage policy and oversight team
This team will review policy implications of storage issues across campus and guide the technical working group and the charged services team. Recommends to the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology.
OIT storage technical working group
Core storage operators as well as technical representatives from the major units will meet to discuss needs, communicate plans and design joint solutions. Recommends to the storage oversight team.
OIT charged services team
This team will address all chargeback-related services as well as serve as the liaison with receipts-supported units that access OIT services. Recommends to the storage oversight team.