Research data storage

Researchers must ensure that research data and materials generated and collected as part of their research, regardless of the format, are stored securely in a durable and accessible form. Data must be stored in a manner that ensures its authenticity and integrity as well as meeting all legal and confidentiality requirements. Making back-ups of data is an essential element of data management. Regular back-ups protect against a number of risks including human error, hardware failure, software faults and power outages. Critical data files or data that is used regularly should be backed-up frequently.

Swinburne has a number of research storage, sharing and computing services for researchers. The following information can be found on the Information Technology wiki [login required]. Swinburne Research Storage is the University’s primary centrally supported network storage. It is the University’s recommended option for the storage (back-up) of research data and records. For questions about research data management and storage, please contact the Research Information Services Team (RIS) in Swinburne Research (RIS@swin.edu.au) or the IT Service Desk (ServiceDesk@swin.edu.au).


Locally managed research data storage

Personal computer hard drives

Personal computer hard drives are recommended for storing working versions of research data. They are not recommended for storing the master copy of your data, unless it is networked and regularly backed up on an external device. In the case of laptops there is a high risk of data loss. The lifespan of laptops is generally only 3-5 years and therefore not sustainable for storage of important data and records that in general need to be stored for 5+ years post-publication.

Removable Media

This includes USB drives, memory cards, DVDs etc. These methods are convenient and inexpensive but they are also easy to misplace and corrupt. Security is poor and is not recommended for the storage of sensitive and confidential materials. Where this does occur, files should be encrypted or password protected. The University recommends, when possible, that data is backed-up on Swinburne Research Storage, rather than removable devices.


Externally managed research data storage

Any external storage solutions (e.g. Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Services) used to manage research data should comply with University IT policies and procedures. Please contact IT for advice before entering binding agreements with external vendors. Please also be alert to applicable Privacy requirements for human research or biohazardous data that are personally identifiable where storage is interstate or overseas.


Swinburne Research Storage

A network Storage System up to 330TBs (login required) is available for researchers for data that would otherwise be stored on PCs or USB drives. Swinburne Research Storage is managed by Information Technology Services. Currently, the storage system does not have a secondary back-up and therefore should not be used for the storage of primary data. In future, back-up storage may be implemented.

  • Access to this storage will be limited to Swinburne Researchers and Research groups only (controlled access).
  • Storage does not provide any content management, indexing or search capabilities.
  • It is not suitable for users who require high-speed or intensive access such as HPC users running simulations or computations.
  • As this is a backup device, NO data stored on this system will be backed up.

To request storage please email the IT Service Desk at ServiceDesk@swin.edu.au.


Cloudstor+

CloudStor+ is a high-performing and secure personal file storage solution for research staff and students to easily and reliably store files “in the Cloud”. This should not be confused with the Cloudstor file sharing service. The service is available through Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet). To use Cloudstor+, click on the access button below, then click on Logon and select Swinburne University of Technology in the dropdown box under 'Select your identity provider'. Log in with your SIMS username and password.

Facts about Cloudstor+

  • Up to 100GB of FREE storage is available to individual researchers
  • For researchers or research groups wanting more than 100GB, charges apply (in the vicinity of $30/month per Terabyte).
  • The service is available to researchers at institutions that are AARNet customers just like Cloudstor.
  • Authentication and authorisation are provided via the Australian Access Federation (AAF).
  • The storage is provided within Australia, using (in the first instance) storage facilities provided by AARNet (located in Brisbane, Perth and Canberra, and connected directly to the network backbone at 10Gbps). This ensures very rapid storage and retrieval, as well as avoiding any data sovereignty issues.
  • Data uploaded onto the platform is geographically replicated and distributed, with a minimum of three copies being maintained at any given time. The storage capacity of the system can be expanded rapidly in response to demand, and enables the use of a range of storage types.
  • Note that, unlike some other services, it is not necessary to retain copies of your files on your own device. Files stored in CloudStor+ can be retrieved very quickly by virtue of the nodes being located in Australia and connected directly to the Network backbone (initially at 10Gbps).
  • CloudStor+ can be synchronised to the desktop or accessed via the Web or from mobile devices.
  • The system is based on the community-developed ownCloud software on the user-facing interface.
  • Note that CloudStor+ should not be confused with CloudStor (also known as FileSender), which is used to send large files.

FAQs

1. How can I be sure my data is safe?

AARNet is not backing-up the data stored in the system, however it is stored in a geographically distributed file system. The system builds on the infrastructure used for AARNet’s Mirror and CloudStor services, which have very high reliability and availability. AARNet monitors all its systems on a 24x7 basis.

Important: projects requiring ethics approval

Researchers storing data from projects requiring ethics approval will need to make sure they comply with state legislation regarding the location of stored data, which may be stored on an interstate node. Please contact your ethics adviser if you are unsure of your legal responibilites.

2. How can I be sure that CloudStor+ will be around in 5, 10, or more years’ time?

CloudStor+ is being provided in conjunction with the Mirror service, which has been provided already for 15+ years, and will continue for the foreseeable future. AARNet is a long-established service provider to the Higher Education and Research sector, owned and funded by 38 Australian universities and the CSIRO (your employers), so it is in AARNet’s interests to continue such valuable services to its members.

3. How quickly can I get my data back?

Files uploaded to CloudStor+ are held in 3 locations across Australia, directly connected to the network backbone at 10Gbps. Initial tests indicate read/write speeds are orders of magnitude faster than those achieved with similar commercial services.


Further information and assistance

For assistance with research data management, Swinburne IT resources, Cloudstor, ANDS services, and online research data archives and repositories please contact Arna Karick (eResearch Consultant - Research Information Services) at ris@swin.edu.au.