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5.1.1.1.3 - The repository shall have procedures in place to evaluate when changes are needed to current hardware.

Explanation

SP uses employs a variety of widely accepted, industry-standard techniques and tools to monitor the repository's hardware platform. Systems administrators at SP and number of experienced systems administrators and programmers to oversee its technical operations and evaluate when hardware changes are needed. In addition to their operational duties, systems personnel monitor developments in data management and storage, attend relevant conferences, and upgrade their skills through SP's professional development program (see 3.2.1.3).

SP staff collaborate with personnel from the University of Toronto Libraries' Information Technology Services receive information about system behaviour and usage from a number of custom-built scripts, a Nagios system, and monitoring tools built into the hardware. These tools warn administrators about abnormal activity such as excessive processor loads and slow response times. In addition, staff monitor critical processes, such as ingest and data management, for malfunctions and suboptimal performance. System administrators receive notices and alerts from vendors on a regular basis.

Feedback from the Designated Community is an important source of information about system behaviour and hardware suitability. As described in 5.1.1.1.1, the repository receives ongoing and extensive feedback from its Designated Community.

SP normally buys a 5-year warranty for hardware. As a rule, SP replaces hardware within the warranty period (i.e. every 5 years or less) even if the hardware is functioning well.

Responsibility

Digital Preservation Policy Librarian

Systems Administrator

Future Plans

SP has a (ITS) department to evaluate hardware alternatives and the timing of hardware replacements or upgrades. Evaluations vary in formality according to the circumstances. The most extensive assessments take place whenever large components, such as the repository's servers or storage array network, require replacement. When necessary, systems administrators at SP and ITS consult vendors for additional information and advice. Staff evaluate potential changes for their effect on the integrity and understandability of information, the speed and interoperability of the system, and the accessibility and usability of content. Staff also take the cost of hardware and future maintenance into account.

Responsibility

Digital Preservation Policy Librarian

Systems Administrators

Potential Risks

There is a risk that systems personnel, who know the Designated Community, system requirements, and system behaviour intimately, will leave the organization at some point. To minimize this risk, SP uses well known hardware components and delegates critical responsibilities to several people. At the same time, SP can draw on the expertise of systems administrators at ITS and vendors for help with hardware evaluation. Please see the Risk Analysis and Management Strategies document for more information about SP's strategies for reducing the impact of personnel departures.

Future Plans

SP has procedures, commitments, and financial resources for regular hardware replacement and media refreshment. See 5.1.1.1.4 for details.

Relevant Documents

  1. Hardware and Software InventoryRisk Analysis and Management Strategies