Some colleges turning to online storage options

IT managers use hosted services in lieu of buying massive -- and expensive -- arrays

Some colleges are turning to hosted online storage services to keep up with the fast-growing needs of faculty and students who are storing ever-larger amounts of data.

The University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health last month started rolling out the MozyPro online backup service from EMC Corp.'s Berkeley Data System Inc. unit for its faculty and staff.

The school turned to Salt Lake City-based Berkeley after a consultant called its lack of unified backup systems a "weakness" and a "concern," said IT manager Corey Grone.

The online service is not available to students, who will continue to be offered a small amount of storage on a central Unix system, he added.

The university has initially purchased 90 MozyPro licenses and 200GB of storage, and Grone said the amount of storage may increase if demand grows.

Last month, Duke University in Durham, N.C., launched a fee-based program to allow students, staff and faculty to store personal data on the Connected Backup for PC service from Boston-based Iron Mountain Inc.

Users can purchase as much capacity as they need, said Billy Herndon, systems vice president for enterprise information and services in Duke's IT office.

Duke does allow the students to store 5GB of university-related files without charge on its own WebFiles online storage system, Herndon said. The free online service uses Duke's distributed network file system, he noted.

The school launched WebFiles only last month for group collaboration, coursework, video streaming and Web site construction projects, Herndon said.

Duke turned to online storage to increase capacity without affecting infrastructure or IT operations, Herndon said. "We didn't want to necessarily go through reinventing the wheel because resources are limited," he said.

Doug Chandler, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said schools using a single online service can improve the security of the data they store.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon