2019 Storage Infrastructure Report: NDSA

Early in March, results from the 2019 Storage Infrastructure Survey were released by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA). Unlike its previously conducted surveys, however, the 2019 survey included responses from both non-members as well as members of the NDSA. From the announcement of the report, some of the major takeaways from the report included:  

  • The amount of preservation storage needed has continued to grow over time. Approximately 57% of respondents to the 2019 Survey indicated that they required more than 100 terabytes of preservation storage, compared to 33% and 34% of respondents to the 2013 and 2011 surveys, respectively.

  • Many are responding to increasing storage needs by diversifying their infrastructure with different types of technologies. 66% reported using storage that geographically distributes copies, and 46% reported using cloud storage. Of those using cloud storage providers, 71% said they use Amazon Web Services.

  • Preservation storage infrastructure remains a changing field. Over half (54%) of the respondents indicated that their preservation infrastructure was expected to change significantly within the next three years.

How is that storage handled? At the highest levels, “the vast majority of respondents (94%) are utilizing at least one storage element that is managed by their organization (this number includes both “onsite storage” and “offsite storage, managed by my organization”), while comparatively fewer (68%) are utilizing at least one storage element that is managed outside of their organization.” (pg 7)

Physical servers are the most utilized type of preservation storage infrastructure (81%). Virtual servers are also commonly used (63%) while a fewer percentage of respondents use containers like Docker, rat, or Kata (10%)  Fifty-seven percent of respondents are using combinations of at least 2 different storage infrastructure elements.  In charge of those elements are collaborative groups of two or more units — including central IT (58%), departmental IT (52%) and a digital preservation team (58%).

Question 12 of the survey asked the amount of space required for one copy of the content being managed. For the majority, the requirement was between 1 and 999TB of storage. (See pg 13.) Question 14 asked the same question but for all copies of the content managed. In that instance, nearly 60% required 10-999 TB of space for all copies. (See page 14 of the report.) 

There were 109 responses to the survey, of which 89 were complete and used as the basis for the report.  More in-depth information may be found in the full text of the report, hosted at the Center for Open Science.