University aims for three-year ROI from storage overhaul

The University of Huddersfield has embarked on a £1m overhaul of its storage infrastructure from which it expects to recoup its...

The University of Huddersfield has embarked on a £1m overhaul of its storage infrastructure from which it expects to recoup its investment within three years.

The move involves consolidating the university's 170 servers onto a single platform based on network-attached storage (Nas) and storage area network technology from EMC. University officials said the project, which will provide 8Tbytes of storage, would remove the need for manual back-ups, significantly reducing administration costs.

The university also expects to save money using information lifecycle management (ILM) - a combination of processes and technologies that help manage the flow of data through an environment.

Alan Radley, infrastructure systems development manager at the University of Huddersfield, said, "We can now move information onto the most cost-effective storage platform as its value changes, helping us towards ILM."

In the next few months, the University of Huddersfield will be looking at migrating data from expensive fibre channel to less expensive ATA disc, he added.

The university is taking a cautious approach to the roll-out, with a number of pilot schemes taking place. The first of these, which involves moving data from a staff server onto the Nas, was due to start this week.

Later this month another Nas pilot will start at the university's school of applied sciences, which will provide storage capacity for academics and administrative staff. Radley said, "We will examine the data to see what is out of date and where there are duplicate files."

Another goal is to provide the university's 20,000 students with personal storage space. Initially, students will receive 50Mbytes of space each, although there is capacity within the storage infrastructure for this to double.

Radley said, "We have felt for several years now that we need some centralised storage for students so that they can go to any machine on campus and retrieve their data, and also be secure in the knowledge that it will be backed up."

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