University of Aberdeen replaces IBM data management system to keep research grants rolling in

Grants are the lifeblood of any research institution, and the University of Aberdeen is ensuring its compliant with criteria for critical funding with a new data management system.

It has replaced its legacy IBM data management infrastructure with Commvault’s Simpana, allowing it to share data with users, like PHD students, more effectively and boosting compliance.

Since the implementation, it has backed up its entire estate ranging from finance data to research data including genome calculations created by High Powered Computers (HPC) that “could never be created again.” The process has decreased from 40 hours per week, to just five hours.

Further, the new infrastructure, implemented by COOLSPIRiT, means that the university’s technical team can manage its 140 TB “and growing” amounts of data to wider audiences including researchers off-site who need to access critical reference material.

With greater visibility of its data, the University can comply with regulations surrounding contracts with its business partners like medical research firms and to get critical government grants; as well as positioning itself as an attractive destination for talented students.

“Grants are based on being able to meet certain criteria, you need to be able to have information backed up and secure for certain amount of time and to be able to collaborate. If we mismanaged data backup we would be subject to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines. The fact that we can prove we comply to criteria makes it easy to get grant funding.”

Why rip and replace?

Glen Douglas, server operations team lead at the University of Aberdeen told ComputerworldUK that the University was faced with a single point of failureas only one member of staff had the required skills to use the struggling system, which meant the university was spending on external support. Replacing the system entirely was more cost effective than upgrading the existing IBM estate.

Douglas said: “Not only are we actually backing up data (and) getting more value from it, allowing us to collaborate to share it amongst departments, schools, third parties and equally we can express and improve that data is compliant for grants and our partners.”

'People are more concerned about data management'

Douglas said the university prioritised the project, “because in general people are increasingly concerned about data management, from the fact that everything costs. To host on disk and to write to tapes - do you really need to pay that much money?”

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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