Data Storage and Backup

 

Definition

Storage refers to preserving your data files in a secure location you can access readily.
Backup refers to preserving additional copies of your data in a separate physical location from data files in storage.

Storage systems often provide mirroring, in which data is written simultaneously to two drives. This is not the same thing as backup since alterations in the primary files will be mirrored in the second copy.

Backup preserves older copies so you can restore your data if accidental deletion/alteration or a disaster such as fire, flood, or hardware malfunction damages your data in storage.

When it comes to safeguarding your important data assets, remember both storage and backup are essential!

Relevance

  • A granting agency may require that you retain data for a given period and may ask you to explain in a data plan how you will store and back it up.
  • Storing and backing up your data ensures that it will be there when you need to use it for publications, theses, or grant proposals.
  • Good preservation practices help make your data available to researchers in your lab/research group, department, or discipline in the future.

Storage Options

OptionDescriptionSize and costAccess and securityBandwidthNotes
External hard drives-
available at DoIT Tech Store
Also known as hard disk drives.Varies; 2 TB for $170 -$190Not secure unless kept in a secure location and sensitive data are encrypted.Between 49 to 572 MB/sec, depending on connection type (e.g., USB, Firewire)Best for short-term storage (approx 1-5 yrs) since disk failure can occur.
Portable media- available at DoIT Tech StoreFlash drives, CDs, and DVDs.Varies; 64 GB for $154Not secure unless kept in a secure location and sensitive data are encrypted.Between 49 to 572 MB/sec, depending on connection type (e.g., USB, Firewire)Best for short-term storage (approx 1-5 yrs) since media formatting can fail.
Departmental server or storage networkYour department's IT unit may offer storage on their server or network.VariesProtected by user accounts and passwords.VariesContact your department's IT unit for information.
MyWebSpaceA web-based service for storing, sharing, and publishing files.1 GB
Free to UW-Madison facstaff and students
NetID restricted; can add permissions for campus or external users.
Not a secure environment for sensitive data, unless data are encrypted.
10 GB/hrCan request additional capacity for Group Directories.
DoIT's File & Data StorageA range of secure and scalable storage options on DoIT's Data Center platform for individuals and research groupsVaries. Tier 4 storage costs $0.65/GB/yrNetID restricted. Can add permissions for other campus users, using their NetIDs. Not a secure environment for sensitive unless data are encrypted.Uses campus networks but bandwidth can vary, depending on your local network.SharedDrive is an affordable solution for file-sharing by campus groups. Custom solutions for high performance computing and/or large scale data storage are also available.
UW-Google Apps
Google's suite of online applications has expanded to Google Drive, which gives you an increased storage quota and new synchronization features.5.0 GB free storage

NetID restricted; can add permissions for other campus users, using their NetIDs.
May not be a secure environment for sensitive data, unless encrypted.
VariesA UW-Madison/Google agreement protects the intellectual property rights of UW-Madison facstaff and students (unless shared with others outside the university).
Third Party Cloud StorageAmazon S3
Dropbox

and others.
VariesVariesVariesUW-Madison has no negotiated terms of services with these providers. See Guidelines for use of non-UW-Madison applications for research for help evaluating your risks and rights.
MINDS@UWThe UW System libraries' digital archive.Free to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and studentsCan be shared with the public or restricted to specified UW-Madison users.VariesAccepts materials as discrete files in final unchanging form only.
Materials will receive a permanent URL and will be maintained indefinitely.

Backup Options

OptionDescriptionSize and costNotes
External hard drives-
available at DoIT Tech Store
Also known as hard disk drives.Varies; 2 TB for $170 - $190Not recommended as the sole long-term backup as disk/media failure are risks over time.
Portable media-
available at DoIT Tech Store
Flash drives, CDs, and DVDs.Varies; 64 GB for $155
Departmental serverYour department's IT staff may offer backup.VariesContact your departmental IT staff for details.
Bucky Backup EnterpriseA managed backup service for critical data on DoIT's Enterprise Storage platform and in a secondary backup location on campus. Provides high reliability, availability, and redundancy for critical files, applications, and servers.Varies, depending on the frequency of file revisions and number of versions stored. For some scenarios, the cost is approximately $6.75/GB/yrAllows you to schedule automatic backups for critical data
Bucky Backup LiteAffordable, managed backup for files, computers, applications, and servers on DoIT"s Enterprise Storage platform, without a secondary copy.Varies. Approximately $1.00 GB/yrAllows you to schedule automatic backups