Spectra storcycle IWM

Imperial War Museums (IWM) operates from five sites across the UK – IWM London, IWM North, IWM Duxford, Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast. Its repository holds approximately 750,000 digital assets, representing a total of 1.5PB of data as uncompressed files. This volume is constantly growing and includes new scans in the Museums’ film collection that generate a further 10TB of data per month, as well as a videotape scanning project expected to create more than 900TB of data over the next four years. 

The teams responsible for digitising and preserving the museums’ data, valuable material relating mainly to UK and Commonwealth wartime history, work in the IWM audio-visual and exhibitions departments. They maintain a storage infrastructure holding thousands of films, videotapes, audio recordings and photographs that would largely disintegrate and be lost forever without digitisation and a system for long-term storage and management.

IWM has implemented large-scale data archiving from Spectra Logic, whose customer they have been since 2009. IWM’s current archive infrastructure is based on two Spectra T950 Tape Libraries, one with LTO-7 tape media and drives, and one with IBM TS1150 tape media and drives, along with a Spectra BlackPearl Converged Storage System, BlackPearl Object Storage Disk and BlackPearl NAS system.

Spectra storcycle IWM2

IWM is now deploying Spectra StorCycle Storage Lifecycle Management software to optimise their primary storage capacity through the offloading of inactive data to the Museums’ archive infrastructure. The staff are using StorCycle software to manage a large amount of unstructured data that resides on expensive SAN and NAS storage outside of IWM’s existing digital asset management system.

Spectra StorCycle identifies and automatically moves inactive data to a Perpetual Tier of storage (or archive) in order to take better advantage of capacity on the primary storage system. In the case of IWM, StorCycle scans the IWM departments’ primary storage for media file types older than two years and larger than 1GB, and moves them to the IWM archive, which consists of object storage disk and tape.

“When we set out looking for automated storage solution capable of preserving our substantial digital archive, there were specific criteria on which we were unwilling to compromise,” said Ian Crawford, chief information officer, IWM. Apart from flexibility and affordability, because IWM preserves irreplaceable historical data, it is vital that their data storage infrastructure be failsafe and reliable.

Spectra storcycle dashboard

These factors are achieved by storing multiple copies of the museums’ data on different media and, using StorCycle, by automatically offloading inactive data from its more expensive primary storage to its archive system. Rob Tyler, IT infrastructure manager (DAMS) at IWM said, “Using StorCycle storage lifecycle management software we can move our data into reliable, long-term storage, offloading our primary storage and preserving media files and unstructured data – all in a single procedure.”  www.SpectraLogic.com