Data Storage & Backups

The College provides baseline support for centralized data storage as well as backup and restore services.  CoC administrative, research and instructional data is stored on centralized file and database servers and then protected with enterprise-grade data backups systems.

Data Storage

Home Directories

Each CoC user account has an associated home directory which is mounted automatically upon successful authentication and authorization to a TSO managed computer (e.g. Windows, Linux, Mac).  The home directory may be used for general-purpose file storage.  The default quota for CoC faculty is 8GB and the default is 4GB for CoC graduate students.

Remote Data Access

CoC home directories and research/instructional file shares can be access remotely via SSH or SMB.

Instructional and Research Data Storage Management

Instructional data is allocated to faculty and classes on a per-semester request basis.  Please see our Instructional Computing service page for information about how to request instructional data resources.  For research needs, CoC faculty purchase file servers for additional storage to support their specialized activities.  Please see our Research Computing service page for information about research data resources, or contact the TSO Help Desk to request access.

Administrative File and Database Service

Administrative files and databases are centralized on a secure server in the CoC data center.  Access is granted on a need-to-know basis to CoC faculty and staff based on job duties.  Contact the TSO Help Desk to request access and instructions for CoC files and databases.

Sensitive Data Storage

To accomplish the education, research, and business objectives of Georgia Tech, employees require access to computer systems and services where protected Institute administrative data is stored.  This activity carries an implicit trust that the user will be vigilant in the appropriate use and disposal of that information. The improper maintenance, disposal, or release of administrative data exposes our Institute to significant risk.  A security breach violates individual privacy, compromises the Institute’s reputation, and brings the potential for lawsuits and other recriminations. Faculty, staff, and student workers who possess or have access to university administrative data are custodians of this data, and bear responsibility for its use or misuse.  Everyone should be aware of the following policies, procedures and guidelines with regard to sensitive Institute data:

 

Backups & Recovery

Data storage backups are primarily performed on the College's critical servers, instructional and on research servers. Our backup system is designed to protect the College in two ways - disaster recovery and accidental removal/corruption.  Using TSO hosted, CrashPlan cloud backup servers, backups are written to disk and are replicated between two data centers located in different buildings.
 

Research Server Backups

Only TSO managed research file servers in data centers are backed up using our central backup service.  For non-TSO managed research systems, please to refer to our How-to section for self-service backup advice.  
 
Similar to Internet cloud backup offerings, TSO's hosted service places a limit on the total amount of backup data storage.  TSO provides 5TB of CrashPlan backup storage per research server (not per user); more space can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.  All backups are retained until all allocated space has been filled at which point the oldest incremental backups are removed.  In the majority of use cases, users will experience lengthy retention periods (typically, in excess of 6 months).  Faculty receive periodic backup activity reports for their servers, so they always know what servers and data is being backed up.
 
GT Owned Laptops

TSO provides CrashPlan client software licenses to CoC faculty and staff with GT-owned mobile computing devices, such as laptops, tablets and phones.  The CrashPlan client leverages backup servers operated by OIT.

Before you can use CrashPlan, please notify helpdesk@cc.gatech.edu of your intention, so we can configure your GT account accordingly.

Please to refer to our How-to section for download and installation information.

 

Database Backups

TSO currently does not offer a database backup service (e.g. MySQL, Postgres, etc.).  While CrashPlan does its best to backup files that are in use, it is difficult to get full backups of databases in their default configuration due to the rate they changed and operating system file locking.  Most modern databases have solved this problem by allowing for the creation of periodic snapshots of the live database and intermediate logs of all transactions to the database.  Databases configured this way can be restored from the most recent snapshot and the transaction logs can be replayed to return the database to nearly its pre-restore state.  CrashPlan can easily backup these files and TSO is working on a set of guidelines for the community to ensure proper database configuration. 
 

How to Request a File Restore

To request a restore, send email to helpdesk@cc (see Obtaining Help from TSO Staff Members). Please include the complete path name(s) of the affected file(s), such as servername:/usr/local/program/file. If you can possibly supply it, the approximate range of time in which the file was in a known good state can also be very helpful. Given bandwidth and resource scheduling limitations, please understand that it can take several hours to restore a directory.  Please let us know the level of urgency of your request.