National Library of Scotland boosts digital preservation storage system during pandemic downtime
Not all pandemic projects involve white glue and glitter.
At the National Library of Scotland, they used the downtime to take two piles of hard drives and plug them into their digital preservation storage system.
Ever wondered what a petabye of storage looks like these days? This…! These have just been delivered and are destined to be installed next week in the @natlibscot preservation storage system (96 x 14TB 7.2K SATA drives –> geo replicated @scality system) pic.twitter.com/YMoeRprudM
— Stuart Lewis (@stuartlewis) April 30, 2020
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The efforts are part of a larger push to digitize a third of its collection of 31 million items by 2025.
The stacks (books, we mean) shuttered on March 29 over Covid-19 health concerns, but that hasn’t stopped the digital team from unboxing and installing a petabyte of storage in two data centers. (While maintaining social distancing!)
You asked for an unboxing and installation video: how we take a pile of hard drives and turn them into a digital preservation storage system replicated over two sites?
— Stuart Lewis (@stuartlewis) May 11, 2020
That breaks down to 96 x 14TB disks across six servers, adding 500TB of usable storage to the library’s Scality S3 preservation system in Edinburgh, with servers capable of holding 60 disks each. (Systems in Glasgow will get the same setup in a few weeks.)
While it lacks the visual appeal of a slick Apple iProduct unboxing, data nerds will appreciate the silver plastic unfurling from one of 48 disks on a book cart and the disks slotting in before humming into service.
More than just ditching the microfiche, the digital upgrade will make the maps, manuscripts and photos available to 3.5 billion internet users worldwide, compared to 25,000 library-card holders in Scotland.
The biggest challenges for us are without a doubt storage, infrastructure and redundancy,” says Stuart “We’re looking at how to compress files to save space, but without reducing the quality. The size of the data presents issues when it comes to backing up. It’s a constant rolling upgrade of hardware and software.
“As we continue to collect more and more digital collections and to make these freely available online, having a stable and robust infrastructure like this that can cope with the growing volume of data is of a great benefit to us,” says Stuart Lewis, associate director of digital.
They chose Scality RING as a foundation to their preservation storage strategy. In addition to providing the resilient S3-compatible storage they wanted, Scality further advanced the Library’s data integrity assurance model. More on that here.
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Another 96 x 14TB disks across our 6 servers (8 each). Adding 500TB usable storage to our Scality S3 preservation system in Edinburgh. Glasgow systems get the same in 2 weeks time. Servers capable of 60 disks each. HP Apollo @HPE @scality pic.twitter.com/p15msvd5d3
— Alastair Sommerville (@sommie999) May 8, 2020