Decide How to Store and Share Files for Researchers

Several services at Brown allow you to share and store files. This guide will let you compare the options and decide which one(s) are right for you.

 

Comparison Table

Do you need a storage option or feature that isn't represented here?   Let us know CIS-Storage-Help@Brown.EDU 


 

Google Drive

Campus File Storage - NonReplicated

Campus File Storage - Replicated

Research Data Storage

Stronghold

Relative** Speed

Fast

Faster

Faster

Fastest

Faster

Collaborative editing

Yes

No

No

No

No

Share a file by sending the link

Yes

  Yes

Via Globus

No 

Data Protection 

(Snapshot ++)

/ History

Yes

(upto 60 days)

Yes

(upto 6 Months)

Yes

(Upto 6 months)

Yes

(daily snapshots with 7 days retention)

Yes

(Upto 6 weeks)

Secondary Site/ Backup Protected

Replication

No^^

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Access restricted/controlled to Brown campus or VPN

No 

Yes

(except with Globus)

Yes

(except with Globus)

Yes

(except with Globus)

Yes

Integration with HPC/OSCAR

Partial

(accessible via API) 

Partial 

(accessible on transfer nodes) 

Partial 

(accessible on transfer nodes) 

Yes


No 

Security features

Prevent editors from  resharing, set expiration date

Access controlled by Brown Authentication and Security groups (Coming 2020 to Research Data)

 

Appropriate for data with strong data compliance requirements

PII, HIPAA, etc

Storage per user

Unlimited

2TB per PI,

20TB per 

grant.

Paid after that @ $50/TB/Yr.

(Consolidated across all paid storage types.)

1TB per PI,

10TB per grant.

Paid after that @$100/TB/Yr. 

(Consolidated across all paid storage types.)

Max file size

5TB

9XB 

(1TB for best performance)

4TB 

(1TB for best performance)

8XB

 4TB (1TB for best performance)

 

** Actual throughput depends on many variables, for instance, end-to-end network bandwidth, firewalls, relative distance, protocol etc. Except for Google Drive, all 4 solutions offered by CIS have at least 100+Gbps bandwidth facing users.

++ Special retention times for snapshots are available based on use-case.

^^ https://storage.googleapis.com/gfw-touched-accounts-pdfs/google-cloud-security-and-compliance-whitepaper.pdf



Storage Options For Research


Google Drive

Google Drive gives you unlimited space to store and share documents. The native Google document formats allow for real-time collaboration and file history. You can also store unconverted files of various types in your Google Drive. It's easy to share files with members of the Brown community (including Google Groups) and non-Brown Google accounts; files can be shared with view-only, comment, or edit access. Google also has a really nice feature where you can scan in handwritten documents and have them converted to text. You can access files on the web, through a mobile app, or by installing Google Drive on your computer (which makes it act like a folder on your computer).

  • Best for: Collaboration in native Google files, easy access from anywhere, unlimited storage, sharing with Google Groups.
  • Limitations: Data transfer speeds may be limited when uploading/downloading large amounts of data, Globus can provide high bandwidth data transfers. 
  • Rate: Free
  • More info: Service Catalog | Documentation | Redundancy

Campus File Storage / Research - NonReplicated

File Services for Research provides Brown University research departments with a location in which files can be stored, backed up, and shared with members of the Brown community using Brown ID’s and groups.  Space is allocated to each research lab or PI with an ITHelp request , security groups are required to define access to the data.   The data is accessible on Brown's campus networks (including VPN and wireless).

  • Synonyms: LRS.Brown.EDU, LRSFiles, Qumulo
  • Best for:  Brown faculty and staff researchers looking to store, share and protect research data. 
  • Limitations: Not intended for high throughput research computing, you can access this storage on the transfer nodes and utilize HPC scratch for accelerated computing.  
  • Rate: $50/TB/Year when storing above free/grant allocations
  • More info: Documentation | Replication | Request this service 

Campus File Storage / Research - Replicated

File Services for Research provides Brown University research departments with a location in which files can be stored, backed up, and shared with members of the Brown community using Brown ID’s and groups.  Space is allocated to each research lab or PI with an ITHelp request , security groups are required to define access to the data.  The data is replicated daily to our disaster recovery site for true geo-redundant data protection.  The data is accessible on Brown's campus networks (including VPN and wireless).

  • Synonyms: Files.Brown.EDU, Files, Isilon
  • Best for:  Brown faculty and staff researchers looking to store, share and protect research data. 
  • Limitations:  Not intended for high throughput research computing, you can access this storage on the transfer nodes and utilize HPC scratch for accelerated computing.
  • Rate: $100/TB/Year when storing above free/grant allocations   
  • More info: Documentation | Replication| Request this service

Research Data Storage (RData - Intended for use in High-Performance Computing)

RData is a high-performance data storage system which is accessible from any computer connected from Brown's campus network, or from outside the network via ssh.  It is backed up nightly on an incremental basis. What sets this option apart from the others is that it is directly connected to Brown’s primary supercomputer, “Oscar”, making computation easier. If you don’t intend to compute your data with Brown’s supercomputer, you may consider using Campus File Storage / Research instead. You could also use RData for computing and then move your results to Campus File Storage for greater accessibility, reliability, and protection.

  • Synonyms: RDATA, GPFS, HPC Storage, Oscar Storage 
  • Best for: High performance storage of research data, perform computation on your data using Brown’s supercomputer
  • Limitations: Not accessible on all campus networks.
  • Rate: $100/TB/Year when storing above free/grant allocations
  • More info: Documentation | Request these services 

Stronghold

Stronghold is a secure computing and storage environment that enables Brown researchers to analyze sensitive data while complying with regulatory or contractual requirements.

Archive

{Coming Soon}

  • Best for: Storing data that needs to be maintained to support research that is no longer active. 
  • More info: TBD
  • Rate: TBD


Data Transfers Using Globus

Globus is a secure, reliable data management service that facilitates data transfer & data sharing via a web interface.  Whether your files live on the Brown HPC Cluster, Campus File Services, Google, or even your desktop,  you can manage data transfers from anywhere using your Brown identity and Globus.   We recommend using Globus for transferring large data sets, the Brown environment that supports these transfers resides on high-speed ScienceDMZ networking with 100GB network access,  this service accelerates your movement of data.

Google Drive Globus

  • Best for: Transferring data from your Campus File Storage or RData to a no cost alternative for infrequently accessed/inactive data.  

Campus File Storage Globus 

  • Best for:  Transferring data to/from your Campus File Storage. Great for sharing data with the public or by granting access to others. 

Research Data Storage (RData) Globus 

  • Best for: Transferring data to/from your Research Data Storage. Great for sharing data with the public or by granting access to others. 


Data Protection (snapshots)

A storage snapshot is a logical marker for data at a particular point in time. Each snapshot reference to a particular directory or share and all the files stored in that directory and its subdirectories. If the data referenced by a snapshot is modified, the snapshot stores a physical copy of the data that was modified. AT CIS, we offer various snapshot schedules based on the requirement and use-case. Typical snapshot schedules and retentions policies are as follows:

SnapShots and retention periods

Hourly - 48 Hours

Daily - 2-3 Weeks 

Weekly - 6 Weeks

Monthly - 6 Months


To recover data from a VSS Snapshot follow the instructions in this CIS knowledge base article.  Recovering Data from SnapShot on a Windows host


Replication

Non Replicated: LRS Locally Redundant Storage  

Locally redundant storage (LRS) provides at least 99.9999% (6 nines) durability of objects over a given year. LRS provides multiple copies within the Providence data center.   A ‘write’ request to an LRS storage account returns successfully only after the data is written to all replicas. Each replica resides in separate storage nodes within the Providence environment. LRS is the lowest-cost replication option and offers the least durability compared to other options. If a datacenter-level disaster occurs (for example, fire or flooding) , all replicas may be lost or unrecoverable.


Replicated:GRS: Geo Redundant Storage 

Geo-redundant storage (GRS) is designed to provide at least 99.999999999999% (12 9's) durability of objects over a given year by replicating your data to a secondary data center that is approximately 100  miles away from the primary region. If your data has GRS replication, then your data is durable even in the case of a complete data center disaster i.e in the case where Providence isn't recoverable.

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