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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Designing Storage Architectures for Digital Preservation - Day Two, Part One

The Library of Congress hosted a two-day meeting on September 27 and 28, 2010 to talk about technologies, strategies, and techniques for managing storage.  Like the 2009 meeting, which I also attended, the meeting is heavily focused on IT and the costs of the the technology.  This was another interesting and valuable meeting, but it always feels like we don't address the elephant in the room:  the cost of all of the people who curate content, create metadata, manage collections, assess content, etc.  This is the report from the second day of the conference.

The morning session of the second day of the conference featured six speakers, many from industry:  
  1. Micah Beck (University of Tennessee - Knoxville) made an argument for "lossy preservation" as a strategy for achieving "good enough" digital preservation in an imperfect world, and suggested that developing techniques for using damaged objects should be part of the archivists' toolkit.
  2. Mike Vamdamme (Fujifilm) gave an overview of their StorageIQ product as a system to augment the reporting and metadata available from conventional tape-based backup and storage systems
  3. Hal Woods (HP) spoke about StorageWorks
  4. Mootaz Elnozahy (IBM) spoke about trends in reliable storage over the next 5-10 years, and predicted that power management requirements will stress hardware causing the rate of MTBF, and the soft error rates of storage to increase.
  5. Dave Anderson (Seagate) also spoke about near-term trends such as a shift to 3TB disks and 2.5" form-factor drives.  He does not see solid state as a factor in the market at this time.
  6. Mike Smorul (University of Maryland) gave a very brief overview of ACE.
The next session featured four more speakers:
  1. Joe Zimm (EMC) was part of Data Domain before being acquired by EMC, and spoke about EMC's block-level de-duplication technology.
  2. Mike Davis (Dell) was part of Ocarina before being acquired by Dell, and spoke about their technology for de-duplication.
  3. Steve Vranyes (Symantec) opined that compression will play a more significant role than de-duplication in easing storage requirements for archives because the use case is very different.
  4. Raghavendra Rao (Cisco) introduced Cisco's network layer de-duplicator.  This seemed like an odd fit in some ways compared to the other products.
Up next - the final post in this series:  the second half of Day Two.

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