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How Does DuraCloud Stack-up: Minnesota Historical Society Report Compares Cloud Storage Providers and Services

Winchester, MA  The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) faces, "Exponential growth in storage required for the preservation of digital collections consisting of images, audio, video, text, and other formats" in pursuit of their long-standing mission:

"Established in 1849, the Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota's past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state's stories and connects people with history."

MHS recently contracted with Instrumental, a firm providing management and consulting services to users and manufacturers of High Performance Computing (HPC) systems and components, to help them determine what it would take to make approximately 90TB of current content (with significant projected growth) permanently accessible for the long term, particularly with regard to understanding cloud services versus local storage options.

The resulting Report on Digital Preservation and Cloud Services may be downloaded here:

A comparison table summarizing the capabilities and cost information for various vendors is provided on page 21 of the report. DuraCloud was among 11 providers or services compared for data integrity, reliability, scalability, retention and portability, availability, data ownership, preservation functionality and 3-year costs. DuraCloud received "Very good to best capability" for data integrity, reliability, scalability, retention and portability, and "Average capability" for availability, data ownership, preservation functionality and 3-year costs.

In comparison with other vendors DuraCloud was among only a few that were given high ratings for data integrity, reliability, scalability, retention and portability. The report states: "With connections to multiple cloud providers, DuraCloud offers multiple backups with multiple providers in different locations." The convenience of DuraCloud's pay-as-you-go extensible storage was also noted: "...a “buy-as-you-store” system where space is purchased as needed."

Cost is clearly a concern for MHS and any institution or organization weighing long-term data preservation options. With the integration of DuraCloud and Amazon Glacier "cold storage" (May 2013 release) DuraCloud will offer pricing for very inexpensive second copies of content. An additional DuraCloud price advantage gives users no-cost data migration capabilities: "…can handle all transactions and negotiations with providers, even allowing for movement of data into, out of and between providers without extra cost."

The Minnesota State Archives has made the Report on Digital Preservation and Cloud Services available to the digital preservation and archiving community to help provide insights on key topics of general interest.

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