Hi Anna,

"The biggest issue I face right now is trying to estimate costs - even for such things that should be straightforward such as the data storage infrastructure. I know there has been some work on this and also the 4C project is underway" ...

Yes, that's right - the 4C Project is looking at costs and related issues and is aiming to put a bunch of resources together that will help people to get a better grip on the economics of digital curation. I stretch the concept to 'economics' because we are taking the view that you shouldn't just focus on the cost of long term info management. You have to factor in benefits; risk (appetite for); value (why is the data important); and sustainability issues (how efficiently setup are you to do digital curation?) to really get a true understanding of cost. We are referring to these and other cost-related concepts as 'indirect economic determinants'. We've written about this on the 4C website ... 

But enough already of the 4C approach and back to your question.

"How do I estimate costs - even for such things that should be straightforward such as data storage infrastructure?"

It's a good question. I note that John Milner has put in a couple of comments to this thread already and I feel emboldened to encourage him to dig out the notes he circulated from a Jisc-funded storage workshop that Simon Hodson organised in February last year. There seemed to be a bit of consensus emerging then about some average costs of storage in the university environment. £450 per Tb per year for active data. Approx £1000 per Tb per year for multiple copy resilient storage. For archive data an 'in perpetuity' cost of around £5000 per terabyte ... 

But some suppliers and some institutions can do better than this.

It's been interesting as part of the 4C work to map this onto other sources.

Hitachi Systems -
Different numbers based on different scenarios ...

An organisation who kindly stepped forward to help the 4C Project (whose business is long-term preservation):
Different tiered storage options ranging from:
£873 per Tb per year (2011)
£11,303 per Tb per year (2011) 
Depending on how quickly users want to access the data

And then a meeting at CERN with physicists who look after vast amounts of data who looked a bit puzzled when I quoted them some assumptions about the long term cost of data storage. "Why does it cost you that much?" they asked. (Tip ... If you want to know about efficient data storage and really good ways to migrate software - ask CERN).

If we want to know what data storage will cost us in 5 or 10 years time, we should ask the people who are already doing it. CERN, the Internet Archive, the Church of Latter Day Saints. 

We have done or will do this but what we also want to do - and what we think is going to help most - is to set up a Curation Costs Exchange.

I'm going to shamelessly take this opportunity to ask all of you on this list to help with this. Please look out for an announcement that the CCEx is up and functioning and if you can, get some costs data into it.  

All the best


Neil Grindley
Head of Resource Discovery
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-----Original Message-----
From: Research Data Management discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Anna Clements
Sent: 02 April 2014 19:30
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Value & Impact of Data Sharing & Curation

Thanks, both - and I probably agree overall.

The biggest issue I face right now is trying to estimate costs - even for such things that should be straightforward such as the data storage infrastructure. I know there has been some work on this and also the 4C project is underway ... But does anyone have a costing model they would be willing to share particularly comparing local I house storage to 3rd party provision. (I am aware of the costing model for Arkivum) Particularly given that we are also dealing with considerable uncertainty on 1. How much data we have and growth rate 2. How much we expect to be able to store in external data centres and 3. How much we think will be open access and therefore easily accessible and shareable cf what we expect to be restricted / by request access - so scalability is a key factor.


Anna Clements
Head of Research Data and Information Services University of St Andrews St Andrews, Fife,KY16 9AL @annakclements

> On 2 Apr 2014, at 18:56, "Kevin Ashley" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On 02/04/14 18:21, Anna Clements wrote:
>> Thanks, Rachel and for the summary - will read in detail but initial 
>> question is ...
>> Is this report then evidence for the need for (inter)national & 
>> subject data centres to be developed where none exist .. and so maybe 
>> remove the need for institutions to do this themselves - duplicating costs and effort?
> My opinion:
> The answer is yes to the first part, and no to the second. Yes, it is 
> evidence that the existing data centres deliver value and hence can 
> support the case for more of them to exist. But even if funders take 
> that up with enthusiasm, it will take some years for it to happen and 
> there will still be areas of research that aren't covered. There will 
> thus be a role for institutions for the foreseeable future. These 
> questions were examined in the UKRDS report back in 2010 and I don't think the picture has changed substantially since then.
> As John Milner said, the solutions may involve regional consortia 
> and/or some mix of commercial suppliers for some of the 
> infrastructure, but intellectual custody will still remain the responsibility of institutions themselves.