Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech
University of Cambridge

Cambridge doubles up on data protection

Schools from the University of Cambridge can for the first time store essential research databases to a secure, offsite, replicated data archive

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | May 23, 2014 | E-safety

The system, which copies data from existing department-level backup systems to provide secondary storage and protection, gives researchers greater confidence in the security and safety of data held. It also enables compliance with data protection guidelines from UK Research Councils funding agencies.

Designed and integrated by data processing, management, storage and analytics provider OCF, the high performance storage system uses DataDirect Networks [DDN] storage. It also uses IBM’s GPFS file system for data management.

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences and School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Cambridge have combined financial resources to procure the new 400TB system. The system is available to all 20 departments within both schools.

Managed by the University Information Services, the new storage system extracts data from faculty level backup systems on flexible terms set by the technical staff for each school – this could be twice per day, nightly or on a rotational basis. In some departments the new storage system is second or even third level protection. Right now, 11 departments are actively using the storage facility.

For added protection, data is stored and replicated at two sites – each within a mile of each other. The whole system enables greater protection and recovery of essential data in the event of a disaster. Importantly, the system incorporates smaller departments that would otherwise have been excluded from secondary backups due to cost. The system also enables the University to comply with data storage guidance from research councils.

Bob Dowling, Head of Unix Systems Division at University of Cambridge Computing Service, said: “The introduction of a faster network gave us the opportunity to introduce a central storage facility. The schools funded the facility, but we centrally manage it. Right now, we’ve filled around 10% of the storage capacity and its sized to cope with a five-year lifespan. From an IT management perspective, the system has given us confidence in the security of our data, but also compliance with the grant awarding process of UK Research Councils.”

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Related stories

What is GDPR?

The GDPR and what it means for cyber security

£1.6m investment for data integration service Wonde

Protecting data: 7 security measures your institution needs

National Young Mathematicians' Awards 2017 now open

NE schools unprepared for new data storage regulations

5 top tips for planning preservation of research data

Roadshow to help schools prepare for the GDPR announced

What does the new GDPR legislation mean for education?

The 4-pronged approach to tackling cybercrime in education

Market place - view all


UTAX is fast becoming a name synonymous with quality and reliability....


Fujitsu provide information technology solutions for businesses inc...


Zones Solutions and Services
We're experts in technology.

European electronique

UK leading supplier of ICT solutions for the public sector, educat...

Casio Electronics Co Ltd

Casio is a market-leading global electronics manufacturer. It launc...

Moxton Education

The Moxton Group is a specialist organisation focused in the Educat...