Nirvanix CloudNAS helps National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum upload digital media

The organization preparing a memorial and museum dedicated to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks turned to Nirvanix CloudNAS for online file data storage collaboration and off-site disaster recovery.

A memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., is scheduled to open in New York next year, and both on-premise SAN and cloud NAS storage are playing key roles in the management and sharing of the memorial's rapidly expanding library of digital files.

According to Sean Anderson, director of information technology at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the memorial will be formally opened on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A museum will follow in 2012. So far, Anderson's organization has collected multimedia catalogs of audio, video and photos totaling approximately 10 TB of digital storage, and he expects an additional 30 TB to roll in by the end of 2010.

The organization also has its own internal infrastructure consisting of a 10 TB EMC Corp. AX4 iSCSI SAN serving as primary storage, and is planning a 90 TB Dell Inc. EqualLogic iSCSI SAN installation this year to handle local storage during the construction process as well as after the sites open to the public.

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The problem, Anderson said, was finding a practical way to share the multimedia files with partners outside the organization. It also needed rapidly expandable storage available in case somebody donates a multi-terabyte catalog and it has to be processed overnight, and a plan for off-site backup and disaster recovery (DR) of the multimedia files.

To meet those requirements, the organization is also storing copies of the 10 TB of multimedia data it has digitized so far with Nirvanix Inc. CloudNAS service. "Nirvanix serves as our tier-2 storage and allows us to share content with consultants, designers and partners," Anderson said.

The organization is also planning to send data backups to Nirvanix using Symantec Corp.'s Backup Exec, which Anderson said he expects will eventually support the Nirvanix cloud. Right now, Symantec's cloud data backup is focused primarily on its Symantec Protection Network (SPN). Anderson said his organization had already signed on as a Nirvanix customer before becoming aware of the SPN option.

Although it will require some programming on his end, Anderson said he's also planning to take advantage of Nirvanix's standard file system interfaces and prefers them to competitor Amazon's Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) API-based approach. "CloudNAS takes care of the reading and writing. We don't have to worry about it," he said.

Still, there's extra work with the Nirvanix software client Anderson said he'd prefer to avoid in the future. "If we want to mount multiple [CloudNAS] volumes, we have to install the CloudNAS client multiple times, which is inefficient," he said.

Another item on his wish list is for Nirvanix to make Linux installations easier by including a FUSE utility, because the Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum organization runs most of its applications on Linux. "It's not necessarily built into all Linux distros," Anderson said. "If we don't have it, we have to hunt it down, install it and then install Nirvanix."

Adrian Herrera, senior director of marketing at Nirvanix, said the vendor is looking to add both items. "Both items are on our roadmap," he wrote in an email through a spokesperson to "Multiple mount points for a single install will be in version 3.0 due out in Q3 of this year. We are still evaluating the ability to bundle FUSE and don't have a definite release date yet."


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