Protecting 2 Petabytes in Perpetuity
CyArk is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the history of cultural heritage sites through advanced digital scanning, modeling and photography techniques. Since 2003, the organization has modeled a number of locations, including Mt. Rushmore, Pompeii and the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. In order to ensure the world’s cultural heritage is preserved for generations to come, CyArk worked with Iron Mountain, Crossroads Systems and Spectra Logic to implement a comprehensive data protection, management and archiving solution.
Ensure the data used to document world heritage sites remains safe, secure and available for future generations
Innovative technologies and services from Iron Mountain, Crossroads Systems and Spectra Logic
- Manage growing data volumes in a secure, cost-efficient manner
- Protect mankind’s cultural heritage
- Focus more time and resources on mission goals
Overcome the Data Deluge
Unlike the artifacts safely housed in museums, the world’s cultural heritage sites face constant risk from numerous factors, including prolonged exposure to sun, wind and rain, earthquakes, fires and even acts of human aggression. The potential for these locations to be irrevocably damaged threatens to leave future generations without an accurate, complete record of mankind’s history.
And it is for this reason that CyArk was founded in 2003. Since its inception, the organization has employed laser scanning, high-resolution digital photography and other state-of-the-art technologies to fulfill its mission goal of preserving humanity’s heritage through the creation of fully rendered, three-dimensional models of these landmarks.
Far more detailed than even the best photograph, these models provide incredibly accurate, realistic views of every aspect of a particular site, giving them numerous applications in educational and cultural tourism settings. CyArk’s model of Mt. Rushmore, for example, allows viewers to see the individual chisel marks on Teddy Roosevelt’s mustache.
“We are a small organization with data management challenges of a company several times our size. Working with Iron Mountain, Crossroads and Spectra Logic gave us an easier way to manage our data, and provided the long-term digital archive we needed to protect our current and future projects and use them to help preserve mankind’s cultural history.”
Ben Kacyra, Founder and President, CyArk
And while newer, advanced technologies have helped CyArk capture more facets of each site it surveys, they are also requiring the organization to manage a greater volume of data than it did in the past – upward of 5 to 10TB per project, versus 500GB just a few years ago.
With fewer than 15 employees and a nonprofit designation to
uphold, handling such a significant – and growing – amount of
data put an incredible strain on CyArk’s staff. This also raised
concerns that the organization’s existing storage and archiving
process, which used expensive disk drives and stored backup
data inside a local bank vault, would not provide the economics
or security CyArk needed to safeguard data in perpetuity and
further its mission goals.
The challenge of coping with rapid, unyielding data growth,
coupled with an initiative to digitally preserve 500 sites over
the next five years – known internally as the “CyArk 500
Challenge” – prompted the organization to look for a new way
to manage its data. CyArk needed a solution that promised
to easily scale over time, effectively protect data and provide
the efficiencies it needed to focus more time and energy on
fulfilling its mission goals.
“We predicted that our data archive would grow by 30 percent each
year for the foreseeable future, which means it would reach 1 to 2PB
in five years,” says Elizabeth Lee, CyArk’s Director of Operations. “So
we wanted a solution that was going to work not only this year and
next, but had the ability to scale well into the future.”
To bring these goals to life, CyArk partnered with Iron Mountain
to create a comprehensive data protection, management and
An Efficient, Secure Data Archive
Managing CyArk’s growing stores of data and safeguarding
the world’s cultural heritage in the most cost-effective manner
possible required a different approach to data storage – one that
uses advanced tape technologies to deliver the benefits of disk
drives at a much more affordable price point.
Iron Mountain saw these challenges as an opportunity to deploy
a cutting-edge solution that combines the cost efficiency and
longevity of tape with the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) open
standard. To help make it a reality, Iron Mountain enlisted the
assistance of two key technology partners: Crossroads Systems
and Spectra Logic.
As the first enterprise-level archive product to deploy LTFS,
Crossroads Systems StrongBox® solution is a file-based,
intelligent caching appliance that enables an entire tape library to
appear like a standard disk on Network Attached Storage (NAS).
This makes it easy for CyArk to take raw data from the field,
ingest it onto a server and automatically transfer it into the LTFS
library. Likewise, StrongBox’s internal caching and policy-based
data management reduce latencies for data reads from tape
and enable the CyArk team to recall files transparently from a
standard, file-based interface.
Any data CyArk selects using the StrongBox interface is written to
two high-capacity LTO-5 tapes – the first of which is stored locally
in a Spectra Logic T950 library. In addition, the T950 library uses
innovative management technology to continuously monitor the
health of each tape and the data residing on it, enabling CyArk to
ensure the ongoing integrity of its preservation efforts.
Along with coordinating the project, Iron Mountain is helping CyArk
store its critical data in accordance with media management best
practices. The second LTO-5 tape is designated for offsite storage
and transported using Iron Mountain MediaCare™, which ensures
that every tape is handled following proven security procedures.
And, Iron Mountain Offsite Tape Vaulting stores this media in a
secure, environmentally controlled, underground facility – far
from CyArk’s location near the San Andreas Fault – helping the
organization feel confident in the long-term safety and accessibility
of its archival data. Iron Mountain also stores a copy of the
organization’s weekly operational backup in a local vault, further
strengthening data protection.
“One of the wonderful elements of this program was working
with the Iron Mountain team to configure the solution,” says
Ben Kacyra, Founder and President of CyArk. “Their ability to
understand our needs and identify the appropriate partners
played an instrumental role in the success of the project.”
The Past, Preserved
Live since September of 2012, the solution is providing CyArk with
the peace of mind that the data it collects – and, by extension, the
history of the world’s heritage sites – will live on for years to come.
And because the new tape solution improves data protection and
promises to easily scale well into the future – while making the
entire process much more efficient and cost effective – CyArk can
keep its staff focused on achieving mission goals, and confidently
move forward with the CyArk 500 Challenge.
“We are a small organization with data-management challenges
of a company several times our size,” explains Kacyra. “Working
with Iron Mountain, Crossroads and Spectra Logic gave us an
easier way to manage our data, and provided the long-term digital
archive we needed to protect our current and future projects and
use them to help preserve mankind’s cultural history.”
ABOUT CYARK. CyArk is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to digitally preserving
cultural heritage sites by collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser
scanning, digital modeling and other state-of-the-art technologies.
ABOUT IRON MOUNTAIN. Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) provides information
management services that help organizations lower the costs, risks and inefficiencies of managing
their physical and digital data. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain manages billions of information
assets, including backup and archival data, electronic records, document imaging, business records,
secure shredding, and more, for organizations around the world. Visit the company website at
www.ironmountain.com for more information.
ABOUT CROSSROADS STRONG BOX. Crossroads StrongBox is a shared storage solution
purpose-built for data archiving and preservation. Using Linear Tape File System (LTFS) technology
and intelligent storage architecture with standard file systems (CIFS/NFS), StrongBox empowers
online, all-the-time file availability with uncompromised data protection, full data mobility, nonproprietary
file storage and significant cost-savings. StrongBox unifies your archive – past and
present – while providing seamless scalability and reliability for the future. For more information,
ABOUT SPECTRA LOGIC. At Spectra Logic we define, design and deliver innovative data
protection through tape and disk-based backup, recovery and archive storage solutions. By igniting
innovation we challenge expectations of the data protection market with intelligent, integrated
and simple-to-use backup and archive technologies. Our goal is to develop high-density, featurerich
storage products with unmatched service and support to customers worldwide. For more
information, please visit www.spectralogic.com.