Center for Information Technology Services

Faculty Demand for Backup Storage of Research Data Is Being Met

With the acquisition of a shared campus computing facility at 300 West Lexington Street, the Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) will offer much needed backup data-storage resources for faculty engaged in research.

As research generates knowledge, it also generates electronic data. This is increasingly difficult to manage on an individual basis because of security concerns, the need for environmentally controlled space for storage devices, and the complexity of managing ever-increasing data needs.

As part of the CITS plan to offer managed data storage as a service to faculty, the Faculty Research Advisory Committee helped craft a survey to determine the interest level. The survey was sent to more than 1,100 faculty members who are engaged in research—212 responded, with 70 percent of respondents (149) indicating they would like backup storage for their research data. A majority said they would need more than 500 megabytes of storage to handle both their personal needs and those of their research team. The survey also provided CITS with information on the types of workstations in use and the connection speed of the researchers’ machines to the campus network.

Based on the survey results, CITS has acquired a substantial amount of storage and developed a data storage program. Each survey respondent who indicated interest in the program will be visited and an end-to-end solution (from desktop to storage) will be mapped out and implemented to meet the researcher’s individual needs.

A faculty advisory group has helped develop a tiered cost model which highly subsidizes an initial data storage amount, while at the same time sustaining the program long term.  The storage equipment has been delivered, installed, configured and tested.  CITS employees are currently working with a pilot group of researchers to create best practices for the end-to-end connections.  The pilot phase will be completed within the next month and the remaining faculty who wanted back-up data storage will be contacted.  

If you are interested in learning more about this data storage equipment or would like to discuss potential use, please contact Chris Phillips, Assistant Vice President, Center for Information Technology Services: (cphillip@umaryland.edu; or 6-2261).