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USC Foundation Moves Holocaust Digital Archive to Sun Storage

The University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation Institute, working with Sun Microsystems, has completed the first stage of the living history project that has captured more than 100,000 hours of interviews of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. One of the world's largest digital video archiving projects, the Shoah Foundation, originally established by filmmaker and USC trustee Steven Spielberg, has worked to archive the testimonials to a long lasting digital format.

"These are the master copies," said Sam Gustman, CTO for the Institute. "Losing the tapes means losing the testimonies of nearly 52,000 individuals who witnessed the Holocaust. Something must be done to preserve them, and USC is taking action. For the first time in history, it is more cost effective to preserve content in files than on videotape," said Gustman. "We have used digitizing equipment to make files of the original analog videotapes and then store them on tape using Sun systems."

The storage system consists of Sun Fire servers, Sun StorageTek 6540 arrays, and the Sun StorageTek SL8500 Modular Library System with a capacity of 8.6 petabytes. The infrastructure also includes Sun StorageTek T10000B tape drives, which have a longer life span and can store up to one terabyte of data. Sun estimates that the solution has allowed the Institute to save $6 million in IT costs.

Currently, online access to the archive is available on-site at USC and 16 other institutions around the world, including the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. As part of its future goals, the institute plans to make 1,000 interviews available on its Web site. The Institute views the project as an interim step toward the final goal of storing the massive files on hard drives at multiple research institutions.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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