Imperial War Museum overhauls storage to defend digital archive

The Imperial War Museum is implementing hybrid disk and tape solutions across it five main sites for storing its archives.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor
Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is upgrading the storage tech for its growing archive of invaluable data.

Image: Eugene Regis, Getty Images

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) is introducing new data archiving package from Spectra Logic that will implement a hybrid disk/tape solution across its five main sites: IWM London, IWM North, IWM Duxford, the Churchill War Rooms, and HMS Belfast.

The museum's legacy archiving systems will be replaced with new systems which it believes can be rapidly deployed and will "more reliably store and manage critical data".

The museum has a "substantial digital archive" of more than 550TB of data, and adds up to 10TB of new video footage each month. Before implementing the Spectra archive, the museum used a disk-based system to preserve its digital assets. However, this lacked the durability needed to safeguard a growing repository of invaluable data, and was difficult to manage across the five sites.

Spectra's BlackPearl allows IWM to set policies that automatically store assets on multiple storage mediums.

IWC CIO Ian Crawford said the museum can reliably store large ZIP files of DPX data using BlackPearl, "safe in knowing that one copy of our data is stored on disk, and two copies on differing tape technologies".

The IWM IT team selected two Spectra T950 tape libraries: one with Linear Tape Open (LTO) 5 media and drives, and the other with IBM TS1150 tape technology. A Spectra BlackPearl and a Spectra ArcticBlue will handle the museums' archiving requirements.

The T950s have the capacity, reliability, and affordability IWM needed while the BlackPearl and ArcticBlue appliances "allow the team to store its assets on multiple storage mediums, for optimal digital preservation and protection for many years to come," said Spectra Logic.

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