Tools for modelling long-term retention and access of digital data

The tools are designed to help answer a range of questions about using IT systems to store, preserve and provide access to digital assets:

  • How many copies should be made?
  • What technologies should be used?
  • What are the long-term risks of loss?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What impact does the choice of codec have?
  • Access: 'just in time' transcoding or create proxies in advance?
  • How often should data be checked to make sure integrity is intact?
  • Can this become counter-productive?
  • When should media migration take place?
  • What is the impact of ingest and access on data safety?

Two tools are available:

  • Simple Storage Planning Tool which runs on this site, for high-level "what should I do?" investigations,
  • and iModel: a tool you can download for conducting a more detailed analysis of costs, risks of loss, ingest, access, resource usage and migrations. iModel can be run in an interactive or batch mode.

The tools can be used to analyse what trade-offs to make and explore the variation of what might happen in practice given that nothing in life is ever certain. For example by executing iModel in batch mode many times we have explored the landscape of cost and risk of loss when using IT systems for long-term storage of digital content. The results of this investigation can be explored interactively online. It's possible to use the tools for many other things as well, e.g. long-term forecasting of costs, including looking at "forever" costs of storage.