Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Data issues

It's amazing how after two days back at work, a holiday seems so long ago! Lots of things to catch up on, and lots of junk emails to delete. Not spam - we filter most of that out, but all of those companies who've got my contact details because I put my business card into their jar at an exhibition to win an iPod, all of those recruitment companies who think I'm going to use their services, all of those companies who think an unsolicited email to me is going to make me buy their product (how wrong they are).

A meeting yesterday to discuss how we provide management information to Departments and Faculties, especially in the light of the restructuring that's going on. We collect and store an enormous amount of central data - on student numbers, admissions, staffing, research income etc. It's also very high quality data, ie we're fairly certain it's accurate. At the moment there's a number of ways of accessing it, and what we want to do in partnership with the Corporate Planning Office is to make it easily accessible, preferably through a web interface, with a top level "dashboard" and the ability to drill down to more detail, to both static and live data. It's a new project, and one that will have to be delivered in phases. We'll be starting this project as soon as possible, with the hope of delivering the first phase by the summer. More detail will follow on our project pages.

Today myself and Dave met one of larger science departments to talk about how best to store their research data. It's a big problem for many departments as more and more data is produced - often it's kept on hard drives on PCs, or external hard drives, or on the shared areas on our fileservers. Last year we invested a considerable sum of money on a central filestore. It's got lots of discs which are protected in case one breaks, the machines are in two places so there's business continuity protection, and everything is secure and backed up. We obviously would like to move all of the research data in the University onto this. But - there are resource implications which we're currently trying to work through. Today's meeting was very useful - it was great to talk to a Head of Department about the issues they face, and hopefully explain some of ours. I must get out more...


Matthew Zawadzki said...

Storage of research datasets is an issue that (not surprisingly) Google are taking an interest in.

See this article from another blog which sets out what they intend to do.

It wil be interesting to see how the type of service Google is planning to offer fits in with the sector's own plans to manage such data.

Brennig said...

Interesting to see collaboration is on your radar. I've just been given that one as a project to scope and deliver a trial.

Stephen Beynon said...

It is nice to see someone senior worrying about data security. I have been working on san storage controllers for the last 6 years, and the technical sales team are allways amazed how many companies are not willing to pay for mirrored storage in independent sites.

It is always said that a picture is worth 1000 words. Maybe you should see if any of these help the resource situation
Southampton Uni looses Research centre
Or my favorite

Adelaide university trials water cooling