October 16, 2014

Flemish government archives to be transferred to Dutch bunker

Videos and sounds of the Belgian public broadcasting company VRT of village festivities, museums etc. will soon be stored in a large bunker in the Netherlands. This is the result of a long and international tendering process won by Backupned.

What did Jacques Brel say in an interview in 1967? What did the first recording of ‘Limburg, mie land’ by Jo Erens sound like? What letters and messages came from the trenches in World War One? This and other information and can found at the Provincial Library of Limburg, the Flanders Fields Museum and… soon also in a Dutch bunker.

The Flemish government digitises and archives Flemish cultural heritage. Two copies on tape are stored in their own data centre and a third copy will be transferred to the highly secure, nuclear-safe bunker of tape storage specialist Backupned in Oosterbeek.

Storage of Flemish cultural heritage

Thousands of tapes with valuable data of the VRT, Flemish museums, regional broadcasters, universities and cultural institutions will soon be stored in Gelderland. Backupned expects to receive approx. 17 petabyte (1 million gigabyte) from Flangers over the coming years. All this information will come from the VIAA, the Flemish Institute for Archiving. This organisation digitises the cultural information of the Flemish government.

Large-scale use

Following a call for tender, project manager Matthias Priem of VIAA offered the project to Backupned: “As an extra backup for our own storage, we have decided to store our data on tape at a location outside of our own data centres. After all, at the scale at which we work, tape is a lot more inexpensive than disk storage. Backupned met all our stringent requirements for external data storage. Think of aspects such as extreme security, professionalism and flexibility.”

Cold War Era Bunker

Peter Benedick, owner of Backupned, is tremendously proud of this work and this assignment in particular. “The demand for data storage on tapes is increasing. We recently ordered new racks intended for storage tapes. Within several weeks, these racks were already 80% in use. Our underground Cold War era bunker includes ten-thousands of tapes of multinationals, institutions and organisations. And this doesn’t even include the data from Flanders!”

New technology and less environmental pollution

Backupned believes the revival of tapes is mainly due to new technological innovations and decreased environmental pollution. ”Modern tapes have the same functionality as disks but are much cheaper when storing large amounts of data. Moreover, in comparison with data centres that use lots of energy, tape storage is causes less environmental pollution. Most important of all, tapes are the perfect way to keep your data away from hackers.”

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