Data storage

Word of caution

  • Storing data locally (on your own computer hard disk, USB sticks etc.) is extremely risky. Even if you should work locally we would advise to back-up your work regularly (maybe even daily) on the central infrastructure.
  • Using storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box to store files seems to have certain advantages but there are certain risks involved. You do not know for certain who has access to your files and leaks may happen. The existence of the services is not guaranteed. Confidential and sensitive information should never be stored in a cloud service. And you may consider securing your files by means of encryption.
  • Remember that access to certain research data can become difficult when research staff leaves.

Professional infrastructure

At Ghent University data is stored via central shares managed by the ICT Department. Access to this data is made possible through the Ghent University network and is set up automatically after the hiring process.

The ICT Department takes into account four criteria:

  1. Availability: how available are the data in case a problem occurs (e.g. hardware or software error, human error, external cause)?
  2. Data integrity: how reliable are the data in case a problem occurs?
  3. Confidentiality: can access to the data be regulated and controlled?
  4. Scalability: does the chosen platform allow for expansion without technical or financial issues?

Availability & integrity: measures against calamities

Snapshots

  • online back-up: snapshots can be put back by the user without intervention of the ICT Department

Replication

  • data that is stored on DICT datacenter systems (S10) are simultaneously available on a secondary system (mainly used as back-up system) due to replication
  • the user is kept unaware of a switch to this secondary system

Tape robot

  • every week a copy is made on magnetic tape (this copy is not made available to users)

Confidentiality & Scalability

The ICT Department offers both personal diskspace as shared network drives ('shares'). Data which is stored via this infrastructure is kept secure by the ICT Department. Access is granted based on your Ghent University account so look after your personal log-in and password.

The approach to storing data on central shares is part of the institutional policy on information safety (e.g. who is allowed to access and use the data).

Shares

The central platform can easily be expanded. Today the ICT Department offers 368 TB of scalable storage.

There are three types of shares: standard, large and expandable.