02 May 2006

Staff Home Drives

Centralisation of 'common' services continues.

Early in April 2006 the Division developed a Project Mandate proposing that ICT Services take over the hosting of staff home directories from the Divisions. It appears that all academic divisions have agreed with this proposal and ICT Services is currently investigating the scope of the project in order to seek approval and the funds necessary to implement the proposal. The transfer could happen within the next three months if all goes well, which would be good for the Division since our own Network Attached Storage device, DCENAS, is due to go out of warranty in September this year and is currently not working correctly (Dell is working with the TSU team to overcome the issues with the device).

ICT Services propose to limit the storage for each member of the staff to 2 gigabytes (GB). This will be a “soft” limit up to 3 GB, which means staff will be warned if they are storing more than 2 GB of data, but will be allowed to store up to 3 GB.

Currently the Division hosts network home directories for 665 accounts. This includes all staff and staff-like entities past and present. Of these 665 accounts, 23 are currently over 3GB and 37 (in total) are over 2 GB. The largest is 32 GB, but 265 accounts contain no data (average is around 460 megabytes (MB), with a total of around 300 GB in total storage used).

There are several options in dealing with the 37 accounts that have more than the 2 GB proposed under the ICT Services plan:

  1. Advise the owners of the accounts that no more than 2 GB can be stored in their Home Directories, and limit storage to a maximum of 3 GB
    Many staff have legitimate reasons for storing large amounts of data in their Home Directories, where the data can be professionally managed, backed up and archived. Any legitimate University files should be part of a system that allows for professional management: documents stored on local hard disk drives are prone to loss and may not be available for others to access for official purposes if needs arise.
  2. Suggest that ICT Services provide an average of 2GB of storage per account, with no quotas
    ICT Services may find that users will save so much data that collectively the storage required exceeds the capacity provided. It then becomes an administrative issue to identify the large accounts, contact the users and ask them to reduce the amount of data they are storing, and following them up. The Division currently manages its storage on this basis and the manual process can be time-consuming and is not always effective.
  3. Pay ICT Services to store the additional data for Divisional staff exceeding their quota
    This option would be difficult to scope and manage: ICT Services is unlikelyto agree to put in place a manual process to identify high users and manage their quotas.
  4. Provide Divisional staff with additional storage if their quota is exceeded
    The Division can provide additional, professionally managed online storage on request using existing or planned specialist Divisional storage. The TSU would be happy to manage the manual process required to deal with the requests from the limited number of people for whom this is an issue.