Managing Data Storage in Disconnected Environments


Ensuring safe and secure data collection in extremely remote locations

The Customer Challenge

As part of our customers ocean initiatives, researchers collect vast amounts of data from the ocean floor for analysis, to help them understand the problem of overfishing and the driving forces behind it.

While out at sea working from a research vessel, the research team required a way to store the collected data to be able to process and analyse it when they return to dry land.

Our customer approached us looking for a data storage solution that would enable them to store an extremely large amount of sample and sensor data, reliably and securely, while on their research voyages.

The Solution

TechConnect worked with our customer to understand their data collection and backup process; and provide a solution that is easy to use while ensuring that all data is safe and secure.

The solution provided by TechConnect implements AWS Snowball, a local data migration and large storage device that includes computing capabilities, best suited for local storage and large scale-data transfer.

This device can be configured as a Network File System (NFS) sharable drive, meaning that the research team can take it with them on voyages, mount the device as a share drive on their computers, and then store and retrieve files from the drive directly – all while at sea!

At the end of each voyage, the AWS Snowball storage device is shipped to Amazon Web Services for uploading to our customers cloud-based storage solution.

One challenge in implementing this solution was that the local storage device entered a locked state when the power was cycled, resulting in the research team not being able to access their shared directory.

To resolve this, We introduced a concept of an auto-start function to the AWS Snowball device solution. The auto-start, developed by TechConnect, executes on a separate companion device, and ensures the local storage device is unlocked, and the appropriate services are started, following any power cycle.

By introducing the AWS Snowball device, we provided an easy-to-use solution that enabled our customers research team to store large amounts of data while out at sea. The result is a seamless solution that operates with minimal intervention, so researchers can fully focus on their exploration activities and rely on the data collected being safe and secure.