Data Retention and Protection

The following policies pertain to specific systems managed by MSI.  The specific elements of this policy and MSI's data policies in general are consistent with the University policy on data management and are therefore applicable to the transfer and storage of data on MSI resources.    

Data Protection

MSI takes a number of precautions to prevent the loss of data stored on MSI's Primary Storage systems. Nightly backups called “snapshots” are performed on user home directories (including subdirectories), which allows MSI to recover lost files for up to one month from the time of the last snapshot. Links to local or global scratch are not included in the snapshots.  These precautions protect your data from the majority of data storage system failures; however, they may not protect your data from a catastrophic failure of the file system or from damages sustained to the MSI data center in Walter Library. While these catastrophic events are unlikely, they are possible, which is why you should take precautions to back up and archive data that are difficult or impossible to regenerate.  

MSI maintains service agreements with entities that require a higher level of data protection than what is afforded under our general data protection procedures. These agreements come with a cost that is commensurate with the level of data protection required. Contact help@msi.umn.edu if you would like to learn about our options for an increased level of data protection. 

Data Retention

Data on Primary Storage are retained in a Principal Investigator (PI) group directory for the one year of the allocation period. The PI owns all data within the accounts of their group members. If a PI does not renew their affiliation with MSI before the end of an allocation period (December 31), MSI will lock the PI account, which will render their data inaccessible.  PI data will be removed from Primary Storage and archived to tape if a PI does not renew their MSI affiliation in two successive renewal periods. MSI cannot guarantee that data removed from MSI systems can be recovered.  PI data includes all of the data under the home directory of group member accounts.  All renewal notices, warnings, and expiration reminders will be sent to the UMN email associated with a PI's UMN internet ID.

Second Tier Storage

Currently, MSI’s Second Tier Storage system (Ceph) is not protected by snapshots or other backups. Data stored on Second Tier storage exists nowhere else unless you make a backup elsewhere. You should therefore take precautions to backup any difficult-to-recover data that you have on Second Tier storage, as MSI cannot recover this data if it is lost or deleted.   MSI is currently developing data retention policies for Second Tier storage.  As a general rule, it is the responsibility of the PI to ensure that their students and collaborators have transferred relevant data to the PI or an appropriate group members before access to MSI is terminated.