Backup & Retention Policy

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Backing up data and other files is an essential practice to insure against the loss of valuable information. The purpose of back-ups is to restore a system to a current state (as of the date of the most recent back-up) in case of system failure. Back-up media is not intended to serve as short or long term storage of information. Retrieval or archive storage is a separate process used to remove or duplicate files from an active system to another system or digital media for short or long-term storage. The backup and archive may not be running for certain periods of time, this is for operational issues.

The purpose of this policy is to establish a limit on the length of time backups are maintained and to encourage researchers to distinguish between the purposes and practices of backing-up data vs. retrieval or archive storage of data.

The solution we have is built on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager.


The Research Data Store also has a facility where ‘snapshots’ of data are held for 4 days, which allows the researcher to recover previous versions or retrieve deleted files on a Windows or Linux device, as long as it is within 4 days of the deletion. Please note that we do not guarantee the availability of snapshots but it may provide a quicker way for you to access accidentally deleted data than requesting access to the backup files. Instructions on how to recover snapshots are linked from here for Windows and Linux.


The backup will occur overnight and any files that have been created that day will be backed up. Each file will be kept for 90 days and have a maximum of 3 versions.

Recovery of data once it has been migrated onto tape

Requests for restoring user files will be acted upon within 10 working days, users should request restores as soon as possible.



A copy of data from an original electronic source transferred to a separate medium (CD, tape, disk). The purpose of back-ups is to restore information lost as a result of purposeful or inadvertent user action or system failure. Example: Daily and weekly backups of an entire system.

Retrieval Storage (Archive)

The movement of data from its original source to a separate medium (CD, tape, diskette). The purpose of retrieval storage is to move data no longer needed on a day-to-day basis to another location from which it can be retrieved at a later date, if needed. Example: Movement of dated transaction files to CD or all data from a completed research trial to zip-disk.

Local disk

Data storage on a personal PC managed by the user will not be backed up, Data on the BlueBEAR and RDS systems will only be backed up.

Business files

Official files associated with the business processes of the research unit. Examples: purchase requisitions, personnel notices, etc should not be stored on BlueBEAR or RDS.

Personal files

Non-official files created and/or used by an individual as part of their work. Examples: email, spreadsheets, informal memos, etc should not be stored on BlueBEAR or RDS.

Lifetime of files

The lifetime of files on local, remote, or retrieval storage is subject to the practices of the individual and/or the administrator of the remote server. Unless deleted, files will exist for 90 days.

File versions

The solution will allow for up to 3 versions of the same file.