Faculty committee hosts series of forums to discuss future of electronic file storage

By Garrett Largoza II News Editor

Last week, the College’s File Storage Working Group initiated a discussion on the needs of the F&M community with regard to electronic file storage at a series of forums held on Thursday, January 22 and Monday, January 26 in Stahr Auditorium in Stager Hall. These forums are designed to be interactive with the campus community.

“The purpose of the forums is for the Working Group to gather input so that we can come up with a solution to what the future needs of the community are and what kinds of policies and procedures would be associated with the new file storage infrastructure,” said Alan Stutter, director of Network Infrastructure & Systems.

The Working Group hopes to design and implement a new file storage mechanism for the campus. In order to accomplish this, they conduct research and document how the College is using file storage and interviewing members the community. With this information, they intend to develop a strategy and coordinate a test run for a new system.

For years, eDisk was the College’s main system for storing and sharing digital files. Students, as well as members of the faculty and professional staff, were given access to eDisk folders, enabling them to store and share files from any computer connected to F&M’s server. However, according to Sutter, a number of factors — like time and storage capacity — prompted the College to reevaluate its use of the eDisk file storage system.

“F&M has not conducted a formal review of the needs of the college community for file storage in over 10 years,” he said.

In that span of time, newer and more effective options for file storage have become available. Cloud storage, for example, is one option, underscored by F&M’s transition to the use of Google Apps for campus services such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Slides. Furthermore, eDisk is problematic because it runs on hardware that is no longer manufactured or supported by Apple.

The Working Group expects the official launch of new storage infrastructure by this August, followed by the complete retirement of eDisk by Summer 2016.

First-year Garrett Largoza is the News Editor. His email is glargoza@fandm.edu.

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