Storage solutions

Research Data Storage at a glance

There is a range of storage solutions available to host your research data. The most appropriate storage solution will depend on factors like the type of data, size, rate of growth, retention, performance, access, etc.

We offer you an overview of some of the storage solutions which Utrecht University develops, supports or endorses. This information serves as a guide only and is not exhaustive (other storage options may be available to you).

Please contact RDM Support for tailored advice.

Questions to consider when deciding on a storage solution

Different types of research data require different kinds of storage solutions. To determine which solution fits your research data and how to work with it, there are a number of elements and questions you have to consider:

To share or not to share

The first question you can ask yourself is whether you are going to use the data yourself or if you want other people to access the data. Some storage solutions are specially set up for sharing data (with the possibility of giving other people read, write or even delete permission) and others are not (individual storage). It is wise to be prepared for sharing if necessary.

Sensitivity of your data

Determine how sensitive your data is. For instance, by doing a data classification. Thinking about different levels of risk allows you to choose the right storage option for your kind of data. It is important to know what types of data you will produce during your research. It is also sensible to choose a fitting storage solution. This should be detailed in your data management plan.

Storage location

Do you need to have your data stored locally in Utrecht or is external storage allowed? Storage at Utrecht University is maintained and controlled by IT storage managers. External storage solutions are maintained by other organisations and they are not ‘controlled’ by Utrecht University.

The storage location is most important in case of privacy-sensitive data. The Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming (AVG), or the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation, only permits personal data to be stored within the EU, unless:

  • participants officially consent to the data being stored in another country;
  • adequate and equivalent levels of data protection are in place (e.g. the US/EU Privacy Shield agreement).

You should always assess if the supplier of the data permits you to store your data abroad. If data needs to be stored outside the EU, information sheets and consent forms should explain the reasons why this is necessitated.

Back-ups

Is single storage sufficient or do you need back-ups of your data? You can choose a storage solution with a back-up facility if you want to be sure that a back-up is available and you don't want to make it yourself.
Sometimes back-ups can be an option of the storage device, sometimes IT storage managers will set this up for you.
Criteria to choose for storage with or without back-up are:

  • Reliability
    how important is the reliability that your data will not get lost and are always accessible?
  • Price
    how important is keeping the costs for storage as low as possible?

Additional functionalities

Many storage solutions have additional services. They come in different types:

  • Data management solutions add an extra service layer on top of your data. With this service, you can add information/metadata about data which is close to the stored data. Additional information on who, when and how the data was created gives people who want to use the data more context;
  • Cloud based storage offers ‘pay per storage’ and services to share and manage your data. Access to your data is independent of the device you are working on;
  • Server based storage can offer a special storage device, used to manage the storage and retrieval of data from disk. Some have a built-in data restoring services;
  • External disk devices can be attached to your device making data available for download without an internet connection.
U:drive (UU solution)

Storage need:
You want to: 

  • store your daily data, documents, spreadsheets and have a daily back-up made;
  • access the data storage location as a network drive;
  • access the data storage location using an internet browser;
  • store the data in The Netherlands.

Storage solution:
For secure, straightforward day-to-day storage use your personal University U-drive. It is available for Utrecht University staff. 

Storage type:
Server based storage

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups
Yes, automatic.

Costs (often paid for by your faculty)  
€ 31,00 per TB/month. These costs are being charged to your faculty.

How to get access:
This option is standard available to you as Utrecht University Researcher. Visit the Utrecht University intranet for more information.  

2. Store and share with others, without automated back-up 

ITS basic storage (UU solution)

Storage need:
You want to:  

  • store also large amounts of data at low cost;
  • share the data with others inside and outside the research community;
  • access the data storage location as a network drive; 
  • access the data storage location using an internet browser; 
  • store the data in the Netherlands.

Storage solution:
ITS Basic Storage is cheap storage especially suitable for storing (large) amounts of data and when high data transport speeds are not always necessary.

Storage type:
Server-based storage.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups
No.

Costs (often paid for by your faculty): 

  • € 2,00 per TB/month (data stored at one storage data centre);
  • € 4,00 per TB/month (data stored at 2 geographically different storage data centre locations). 

How to get access: 
Contact RDM Support.

Faculty of Science (UU solution)

Storage need

You want to:

  • store also large amounts of data at low cost;
  • share the data with others inside the research community (Solis-id accounts only);
  • for sharing outside the UU-community and adhering to the FAIR principles: use Yoda;
  • access the data storage location as a network drive;
  • use protocols such as: WEBDAV, SMB, NFS;
  • create a solution tailored to your specific data needs (ie. Microscope measurement output);
  • store the data in The Netherlands;
  • use storage quota to manage data storage costs.

Storage solution:
The Faculty of Science delivers cheap storage for researchers. Especially, but not exclusively for employees of the Faculty of Science. The storage  is especially suitable for storing (large) amounts of data.

Storage type:
Server-based storage.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data: 
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups:
Optional

Costs: 
€ 2,00 per TB/month

How to get access:
Via storage research data.

More information

Here you'll find more information about storage research data, or contact RDM Support.

3. Store and share with others, with automated back-up 

ITS pro storage (UU solution, also known as the O:drive)

Storage need
You want to: 

  • store data with focus on data I/O -insensitive applications;
  • share the data with others inside and outside the research community; 
  • access the data storage location as a network drive;
  • access the data storage location using an internet browser; 
  • store the data in the Netherlands; 
  • store sensitive data.

Storage solution:
ITS Pro Storage is storage especially suitable for storing (large) amounts of data and when guaranteed network data storage speeds high are necessary. For example for use within Virtual Machines, databases and data I/O-intensive computations. Often referred to as the “O: drive”.

Storage type:
Server-based storage

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups
Yes. Your data is backed up by IT Services twice a day. Within hours the back-ups are also transferred to another location, so in case of an emergency all your information is backed up. Regularly (every month) back-ups are made for prolonged storage.

Costs:
€ 31,00 per TB/month (data stored and continuously synchronised at 2 data centres and additional includes back-up/restore facilities of data). These costs are being charged to your faculty.

How to get access: 
Visit the intranet for more information. 

Version control:
Everyone can view their own 'previous versions' up to a month:

1. Select the folder 
2. Right-click the file.
3. Click 'Properties'.
4. Select tab 'Previous versions.

Yoda (UU data management solution)

Storage need:
With Yoda your research group can:

  • save, manage and share large amounts of data in a cost-effective manner during and after your research project;
  • add value to your data by making it findable and reusable while preserving intellectual property;
  • ensure that your research is verifiable and reproducible. 
  • monitor the integrity of the data and document data use during all steps of your research project. 

Yoda offers a complete set of functions to implement your data management. The main ones are:

  • Data is stored in a safe where it can not be changed or deleted. Encrypted replicas are archived outside the institution by EUDAT, the European research data infrastructure;
  • Data are grouped into data sets defined by user group that can be enriched with metadata;
  • Persistent keys are created to make your data sets citable;
  • Versions of the datasets can be kept in order to monitor the use of data during all stages of the research;
  • User management tools can be used to authorize internal and external users to use your datasets;
  • Your data is accessible as a network drive (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) wherever you are.

Storage solution:
Yoda is a data management solution developed by Utrecht University for reliable, long-term storing and preservation of large amounts of research data during all stages of a research project. 

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups:
Yes, automatic.

Costs:
Data will be stored at at least two locations for recovery purposes at a price of  €4 per TB/month. This is double the price of storing the data on one location.

How to get access:  
Contact RDM Support or your faculty information manager

SURFdrive (External solution)

Storage need: 
You want to: 

  • store your data during the lifetime of your Utrecht University (Solis) ID account;
  • share the data with others inside and outside the research community;
  • access the data storage location as a network drive;
  • access the data storage location using an internet browser;
  • store the data in the Netherlands;
  • store sensitive data;
  • have your data automatically backed up;
  • be able to be in control of sharing data by yourself (self-service);
  • be able to recover data you (accidentally) deleted within 30 days;
  • be able to go back to a previous version of a file (versioning).

Storage Solution: 
SURFdrive is a personal storage location for research and education institutes and it is maintained by SURF. You get a fixed amount of storage of 250 GB. Your files are stored in the Netherlands and are under the university's own control, making SURFdrive much safer than public storage services such as Dropbox. The storage can be accessed from anywhere using smartphone, tablet or desktop. It has facilities for backup and recovery of deleted datasets.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data: 
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups: 
Yes, with back-up and recovery for 30 days.

Costs: 
No costs for Utrecht University staff

How to get access
As an employee of Utrecht University, you have direct access to SURFdrive. Find your institution and login with your Solis ID.    

Faculty of Science (UU solution)

Storage need

You want to:

  • store also large amounts of data at low cost;
  • share the data with others inside the research community (Solis-id accounts only);
  • for sharing outside the UU-community and adhering to the FAIR principles: use Yoda;
  • access the data storage location as a network drive;
  • use protocols such as: WEBDAV, SMB, NFS;
  • create a solution tailored to your specific data needs (ie. Microscope measurement output);
  • store the data in The Netherlands;
  • use storage quota to manage data storage costs.

Storage solution:
The Faculty of Science delivers cheap storage for researchers. Especially, but not exclusively for employees of the Faculty of Science. The storage  is especially suitable for storing (large) amounts of data.

Storage type:
Server-based storage.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data: 
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups:
Optional

Costs: 
€ 2,00 per TB/month

How to get access:
Via storage research data.

More information

Here you'll find more information about storage research data, or contact RDM Support.

4. Store data for the long-term (preservation) 

Yoda (UU data management solution)

Storage need:
With Yoda your research group can:

  • Save, manage and share large amounts of data in a cost-effective manner during and after your research project;
  • Add value to your data by making it findable and reusable while preserving intellectual property;
  • Ensure that your research is verifiable and reproducible. 
  • Monitor the integrity of the data and document data use during all steps of your research project. 

Yoda offers a complete set of functions to implement your data management. The main ones are:

  • Data is stored in a safe where it can not be changed or deleted. Encrypted replicas are archived outside the institution by EUDAT, the European research data infrastructure;
  • Data are grouped into data sets defined by user group that can be enriched with metadata;
  • Persistent keys are created to make your data sets citable;
  • Versions of the datasets can be kept in order to monitor the use of data during all phases of the research;
  • User management tools can be used to authorize internal and external users to use your datasets;
  • Your data is accessible as a network drive (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) wherever you are.

Storage solution:
Yoda (Your Data) is a data management solution developed by UU for reliable, long-term storing and preservation of large amounts of research data during all stages of a research project. 

Storage type:

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups:
Yes, automatic.

Costs:
Data will be stored at at least two locations for recovery purposes at a price of  €4 per TB/month. This is two times the price of storing the data on one location.

How to get access: 
Contact RDM Support or your faculty information manager

DataverseNL (external solution)

Storage need:
You want to: 

  • preserve and publish research data on several organisational levels (for instance faculties, institutions, research groups, projects) within Dutch universities;
  • store and share a large variety of scientific data, independent of the file format, in a secure and sustainable way up to a maximum of 2 GB per file;
  • meet the requirements of funders and of the University Policy Framework for Research Data.

Storage solution:
DataverseNL is a system to preserve, share and publish data while keeping datasets together as a collection. You can have a private ‘dataverse’ or one for a group, department, faculty or project.

Storage type:
Cloud-based storage.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups: 
Yes, automatic.

Costs:
For now, Utrecht University researchers and lecturers can use DataverseNL free of charge. In any case, the service will remain available without costs up to a 5 GB data storage. If additional storage is required a fee may be issued in the future. As an indication: around €4.50 per GB per year.

How to get access: 

DataverseNL is available to all Utrecht University researchers. Login is possible with your SolisID via https://dataverse.nl/. For more information you can check the website of the University Library

SURF Data archive (External solution)

Storage need: 
You want to archive your data for long-term availability.  

Storage solution:
The Data Archive service is designed for data preservation and long-term data storage. It differs from back-up systems, which are meant for recovering data which was accidentally lost.

Storage type: 
Cloud-based storage

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data:
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups: 
Yes, automatic.

How to get access: 
Contact RDM Support.

Find a suitable data repository

Do you want to combine data preservation with publishing and sharing your data in a public data repository? Decide what data repository you should choose by following the steps

Faculty of Science (UU solution)

Storage need

You want to:

  • store also large amounts of data at low cost;
  • share the data with others inside the research community (Solis-id accounts only);
  • for sharing outside the UU-community and adhering to the FAIR principles: use Yoda;
  • access the data storage location as a network drive;
  • use protocols such as: WEBDAV, SMB, NFS;
  • create a solution tailored to your specific data needs (ie. Microscope measurement output);
  • store the data in The Netherlands;
  • use storage quota to manage data storage costs.

Storage solution:
The Faculty of Science delivers cheap storage for researchers. Especially, but not exclusively for employees of the Faculty of Science. The storage  is especially suitable for storing (large) amounts of data.

Storage type:
Server-based storage.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data: 
Please contact RDM Support to check the conditions for using this solution for your specific data.

Back-ups:
Optional

Costs: 
€ 2,00 per TB/month

How to get access:
Via storage research data.

More information

Here you'll find more information about storage research data, or contact RDM Support.

5. Exchange data

SURFfilesender (External solution)

Need
You want to securely send research data (max. 500 GB). Smaller files are also easily and quickly sent.

Solution
SURFfilesender.

Suitable for (privacy) sensitive data
Yes. You can send your files extra securely using encryption (max 2 GB).

How to get access
This service is available for Utrecht University researchers (login via SolisID)

6. Encrypt data

Boxcryptor

Need

You are looking for a way to safely handle sensitive information. You want to comply with set guidelines to do so. Boxcryptor is a very safe solution to secure very (privacy) sensitive data. You have full control over who can use your files and you determine who can join your group yourself.

Solution

Data can be encrypted with Boxcryptor, only by users who also have access to Boxcryptor. They can decrypt files, and so gain access to the data. Users can give access to other users themselves. The files can be on a University O-drive, on Surfdrive and also on OneDrive (cloud storage). If users lose their password, a 'master key' is there to prevent files from being lost.

Costs

This is free of costs. Licenses are paid by ITS, the central IT department at Utrecht University.

How to get started

Contact RDM Support. These colleagues will put you in touch with your Local Information Security Manager from you Faculty.