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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DuraCloud pilot update

Things are starting to move along nicely with ICPSR's participation in the DuraCloud pilot. My early experience with the software and tools is mostly positive, but they are still clearly a bit rough around the edges. For example, I've run into bugs on the login screen of the DuraCloud Admin web app that I would characterize as minor, such as needing to use the Submit button on the screen and not the Enter key on the keyboard for some browsers. That said, the DuraSpace people have been fabulous: It's clear they care a lot about the project and the pilot testers, and they have been very, very responsive.

ICPSR is going to test out three parts of DuraCloud.

One, we'll execute a basic upload test, moving content from ICPSR to a "space" in DuraCloud. For this test I'll be using the DuraCloud Admin tool to create a "space," which is basically the same thing as a "bucket" in Amazon's S3. Then I'll use the DuraCloud "sync tool" to copy a subset of ICPSR's archival content to DuraCloud.

Two, we're going to help spec out a "dashboard" or high-level view that shows the integrity of a collection in DuraCloud, and then execute a "fixity" test to measure performance and reliability. For example, if I have a 1TB collection in DuraSpace, and I have that collection replicated across N cloud storage providers, what's my cost to execute such a test every week?

Three, we're going to test a "replication helper" utility that facilitates replicating content across cloud providers. This is a very compelling service for me. Since we already make extensive use of AWS, using DuraCloud as a front-end to AWS is not very interesting for us; but, if we can use DuraCloud as a single front-end to AWS and RackSpace and Atmos and .... then things get more interesting since it means we don't have to develop expertise with ALL of the cloud providers.

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