by Chloe Dobinson

Imperial War Museum CIO Ian Crawford using new data archiving to preserve wartime history

Apr 04, 2017
Cloud ComputingData CenterIT Strategy

Imperial War Museum CIO Ian Crawford is deploying a data tool which will replace the organisation’s legacy archiving system; and will help the museum reliably store and manage its data.

Speaking to CIO UK Chief Information Officer Crawford said that the museum could not rely on its disk-based system to preserve its data as it could not support the scalability of its archives. (See also: The University of Dundee CIO moving organisation to cloud.)

“There was a real issue in terms of storage with a lot of it being uncontrolled by using external hard disk and whichever media they had,” he said. “We had a Small Network Storage system attached but nothing you could call a storage network so we engaged with some vendors and then we decided the infrastructure we needed to support the data management system which was going to be tape based.”

Data challenges

The museum decided to use tape storage to reduce cost, making it readily available and accessible to its users and staff, but the CIO admits there was challenges in implementing the system.

“When it came to preserving the data the Imperial War Museum had been facing issues regarding reliability, insufficient capacity and longevity of support which was failing to meet the unique data centre requirements that would not only satisfy the organisation’s needs but also go above and beyond their expectations, at an affordable price.”

The implementation saw the Imperial War Museum partner with Spectra Logic and will help manage more than 550TB of data across its five sites. This data is growing at a rate of 400TB per year, Crawford said.

Crawford has undertaken the project since 2009, and will see the museum store large ZIP files of DPX data using BlackPearl, a converged storage system, which will help to back up its DAMS (digital assessment management) archives.  

The museum is currently undergoing a transformation programme which will have a corporate focus. To achieve this CIO Crawford and his team will build additional IT infrastructure to allow staff to work more productively across its five sites. (Read next: 7 easy ways to improve your IT team’s productivity.)

“We are always looking at increasing the public offer and key to this is the second phase of our Lambeth Road redevelopment project which will see two new galleries being opened in 2020,” he said.