Research File Storage

Research File Storage provides high-performance, easily accessible file sharing services to KU research projects, research groups and service labs.

The service is designed to address both primary and secondary storage needs for research data. Storage is available in increments of 50 gigabytes (GB). Stored data is accessible within the KU network or remotely via the KU Anywhere virtual private network (VPN). Although this service is subsidized by Research and Graduate Studies and KU Information Technology, there is a direct charge per gigabyte that is tied directly to a grant or funding code.

Charging to Sponsored Projects:
In order to charge sponsored projects for this activity, please follow these steps:

  • For Proposals: Contact Pre-Award Services when submitting your proposal to ensure the correct language is inserted in your budget justification.  Standard templates will be available
  • For Active Awards: Contact Post Award Services to ensure these charges would be considered an allowable expense on your particular grant.  Re-budgeting may be necessary.
  • In order to comply with federal and sponsor regulations, the Principal Investigator agrees that the data stored in the provisioned share is directly related to the sponsored project.  If the data is not directly related to a sponsored project or is for a core service laboratory or department, then a non-sponsored funding source can and should be used.

Researchers interested in using this storage service for their research projects, groups or service labs can find details in the "Requesting KU Research File Storage Service" section.

If you need Research File Storage support, please see the "Support" section below.

There are two tiers of Research File Storage available.

Primary Online Storage: $1.00 per GB per year after the initial 250 GB allotment.
Secondary Storage: $0.70 per GB per year after the initial 250 GB allotment.

  Primary Research File Storage Secondary Research File Storage (Backup Target)

Research Projects, Researchers Service Labs

Large economical storage designed to house primary instance of research data used by researchers, research projects, or grants. Large economical storage designed to hold a secondary (backup) copy of data that is housed on another primary storage system
Funded directly through Grant funds, Research Project funds, or through general FA funds.
 
Funded directly through Grant funds, Research Project funds, or through general FA funds.
Accessed via Windows Networks (CIFS), or Network File System (NFS) protocol. Accessed via Windows Networks (CIFS), or Network File System (NFS).
Backed up to tape with off-site copy, with self-recovery snapshots taken daily. Not backed up to tape and no off-site copy. Self-recovery snapshots taken daily.
 
Connected to Central Identity Management System. Connected to Central Identity Management System.
 
Scalable for large data sets and large numbers of files Scalable for large data sets and large numbers of files
 
Off-Campus access via KUAnywhere Off-Campus access via KUAnywhere
http://technology.ku.edu/rfs http://technology.ku.edu/rfs

Suggested Uses of Research File Storage

  • Grant-funded research data
  • Research data sets from service labs
  • Raw data from lab instrumentation
  • Other research-related data sets

Non-Approved Uses of Research File Storage

  • Payment card industry (PCI) classified e-commerce data is not allowed
  • HIPAA classified health or human identifiable medical data requires special permission and processes, which can be discussed during the design process.

Benefits of the Research File Storage

  • Helps in meeting grant contract requirements pertaining to data management
  • Provides enhanced access controls and security for research data
  • Scalable to meet very large storage needs
  • Integrated with central identity management system
  • Nightly data backups with off-site storage (primary storage only)
  • Allows for self-service file recovery
  • Provides consistent costing model for grant proposals
  • Uses redundant hardware to ensure high availability
  • 24/7 monitoring and support by experienced KU IT staff

Preparing for Research File Storage:

  • KU IT strongly recommends that clients authenticate to Active Directory for easier management of access control and drive mapping. To migrate your users to Active Directory, see the Active Directory website or contact the KU IT Customer Service Center at 864-8080 or itcsc@ku.edu for more information.
  • Contact IT Client Consulting if you need help in determining if this is the right solution for your storage needs.
  • Request storage by visiting the "Requesting Research File Storage" section below.

Shared Management Responsibilities

Responsibility for managing storage resources for research projects, research groups and service labs is a collaboration among designated departmental technical staff, Research and Graduate Studies and KU IT.

Departmental technical staff members will be designated for each share, and are the only people authorized to request changes for access to, or removal of, departmental data. This provides an accountability trail and eliminates confusion.

KU IT storage experts monitor the performance, capacity and accessibility of departmental data. The Research File Storage infrastructure is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. KU IT staff members are on call in the event of system failure. Clients will be notified at least two business days in advance of any scheduled maintenance requiring the service to be taken offline.

Storage Allotment

Research shares are available in increments of 50 gigabytes (GB). Each sponsored project, research group, or department will receive up to 250 GB free-of-charge.  Beyond 250 GB, charges will be assessed at a rate of $1.00 per GB per year for Primary Online Storage and $0.70 per GB per year for Secondary Storage. Designated technical staff members are responsible for requesting quota increases by completing the Research File Storage Request form.

Remote Access to Files

Clients can access their stored folders and files from home or a remote location by connecting through KUAnywhere. The use of KUAnywhere’s VPN technology ensures secure access to files when connecting through the Internet. Please note: clients cannot log in to the HOME domain from outside of KU and should use permanent (persistent) mapping of shares, a script to mount shares or manual mapping to access their network drives.

Data Backup and Restoration

For primary research storage, file systems are automatically backed up daily through snapshots and traditional tape backup. A copy of the backup tape is stored off-site. Secondary storage will not be backed up to tape or stored off site.

Self-Service File Recovery (snapshots)

A snapshot is a locally retained point-in-time image of data―a "frozen" read-only view of a volume that provides easy access to previous versions of files and directories. Users can directly access snapshot copies to recover accidental deletions, corruptions or modifications of their data. The procedure for self-service file recovery can be found at:

Because the security of the file is retained in the snapshot copy, the restoration is both secure and simple, making self-service recovery fast and easy without needing to contact KU IT.

The space required to keep snapshots does not count toward share quotas and is considered a benefit of the storage service. Snapshots are taken once a day and retained for 10 days.

Off-site Backups

For primary storage only: All files are backed up to tape daily. After one week, the data is stored off-site for 90 days.

Authentication

Authentication for Research File Storage is provided through the Active Directory HOME domain. An Active Directory user account in the HOME domain is required to access this service. University-authorized guest users can obtain temporary file server access through the KU IT Temporary Service Account request process.

Authorization

Authorization to access data in any given departmental share is delegated to the designated departmental technical staff. An Active Directory group, which will be created in the department’s Active Directory organizational unit (OU), determines who has access and what type of access they have. The designated departmental technical staff also can provide access to any other KU Active Directory group or user. Departmental technical staff can find best practices on setting permissions in Best Practices for Assigning Rights in Group Research File Storage.

Mapping Drives

Files are served via the traditional Windows SMB/CIFS file sharing protocol and can be accessed via traditional methodologies. NFS is also available.

Windows

The following methods provide mapping of shares under Windows:

  • Manual mapping of network drives through the "Map Network Drive" option under Windows Explorer (Windows XP example | Windows 7 example)
  • Automatic mapping of drives through login scripts (see example)
  • Automatic mapping drives through Windows Group Policy Preferences (GPP)


If you get an access denied error or are unable to browse to the machine and see shares, please contact KU IT Customer Service Center at 864-8080 or itcsc@ku.edu for connection instructions.

OS/X

The following methods provide mapping of shares under OS/X:

  • Manual mapping of network drives through the "Connect to Server" option in Finder (see example)
  • Mapping network drives through the "Login Items" in the user’s account settings (see example)


For OS/X 10.6 or earlier, please contact the KU IT Customer Service Center at 864-8080 or itcsc@ku.edu for connection instructions.

Linux/Unix

Linux/Unix can access Research File Storage via the common Internet file system (CIFS) or network file system (NFS) protocols. Detailed instructions will be provided to the designated departmental technical staff for each requested storage share.

Migration

Migration of data not residing on resources managed by KU IT will be the responsibility of the designated departmental technical staff. Tested procedures and best practice documentation for migration will be provided by KU IT during the design process.

Support

Researchers will designate technical staff for each research group, research project or service lab. The designated departmental technical staff serves as the only authorized personnel to request changes for access to or removal of departmental data. They also serve as the first tier of support.

Second tier support is provided by the KU IT Customer Service Center at 864-8080 or itcsc@ku.edu.

Requesting Research File Storage

Follow these steps to request Research File Storage:

  1. Review the information above and/or contact IT Client Consulting to determine if this is the right solution for your storage needs.
  2. Complete an official "Research File Storage Service Request." (Please note that a principal investigator (PI) and funding code must be specified.)
  3. KU IT will contact you within seven days of receipt of the Research File Storage Request Form and schedule a meeting to further clarify expectations and customer requirements.

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