Improving Data Accessibility and Collaboration in Higher Education: Cloud Object Storage

Improving Data Accessibility and Collaboration in Higher Education: Cloud Object Storage

HE institutions need to manage unpredictable amounts of unstructured data for long periods of time, and share it with geographically dispersed students, staff and researchers. Object storage can help them do both – and much more besides.

We’ve written previously about how unstructured data growth is stretching higher education data centres. But the challenge isn’t just about volume.

Today’s HE institutions need secure ways to share data between different campuses, partners and geographies, they need the business insights that come from being able to analyse data at scale – and, of course, they need to keep costs low.

For any university facing up to these challenges, object storage could be the perfect fit.

Why object storage?

The best way to understand object storage is to think of it like a ticketing system at a valet car park. Like in a valet car park, the location is not necessarily important here, because the car (the data in this analogy) is secure in a trusted location (see the data locality section below), and when you come to retrieve that data it is readily available to the user.

Cloud object storage allows data to be split and stored across different sites anywhere in the world, enhancing data protection, improving accessibility, and making your data more resilient.

Because data can be fetched quickly, it also makes it easier to run Hadoop data analytics solutions – tools that can often be slowed down by large and complex file or block storage systems spread across multiple SANs, sites and geographies.

Scalability is often also a key concern for HE institutions with rapidly growing unstructured data volumes. Object storage can help here too, allowing you to add new storage nodes quickly—and with zero downtime.

Object storage and cloud

While you can deploy object storage appliances in your own data centre, there are many benefits to taking object storage to the cloud.

For starters, taking object storage to the cloud means you don’t have to pay up-front for new storage nodes or appliances in your data centre. Taking data to the cloud can also reduce continued data management costs by approximately 60%. Likewise, cloud storage means you don’t have to pay cooling, energy and maintenance costs – plus, it frees up floor space that you can use to install other technologies in your data centre.

Similarly, the cloud makes it even easier to scale storage to meet growing data demands. New nodes are only ever a few clicks away when your storage is cloud-based.

And for institutions that are serious about keeping data safe and secure, storing data off-site protects you from all kinds of disaster scenarios, and makes it easy to recover your files. Using in-flight encryption and secure UK data centres, there is no safer place for data to reside.

The locality question

While cloud storage offers several benefits over on-premises alternatives, there are doubts around cloud that prevent some Universities  from embracing its potential.

Many of these doubts revolve around exactly where data will be stored once it has been deposited with a cloud vendor. Cloud data locality has ramifications for performance, (if the data is stored in a distant geography) but it also presents extra risks for Universities, with some governing bodies demanding research and student data is kept within a specific country.

Tectrade’s object cloud storage services have been designed to help UK universities and HE institutions overcome these doubts and make the most of the cloud opportunity. Offering all the benefits of object cloud storage, Tectrade cloud data is all completely stored in UK data centres hosted by our trusted partner; The Bunker.

Unlike other cloud vendors, the barrier of entry to the Tectrade cloud is low. Organizations can start using our cloud with as little as 1TB of data. And with no data transfer costs, the Tectrade cloud treats both HE data and budgets right.

Tectrade also offers a highly secure cloud, with double data encryption both in-flight and as it enters our cloud platforms. With three data centres splitting object storage equally between them, Tectrade cloud services also offer data redundancy and resilience.

Object Storage and HE – a natural combination

As Universities store more unstructured research data, and as they need to share it with globally dispersed researchers, students and staff, a blended approach can take the pressure of existing storage.

By combining existing systems with a cloud object storage platform, Universities and other higher education institutions can better scale data stores and simplify global collaboration – while keeping costs down.

To learn more about the big data challenge, and how to overcome it, take a look at our eBook: Managing Data at Scale..