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I have been tasked with administering a process here at work that is a little out of my league.

We currently have access to two network drives, the S drive and the V drive. S drive is 18.1 terabytes. V drive is 1 terabyte. I have no idea how these drives are physically laid out or set up. Our IT staff does a great job backing these up and all of that stuff. Our V drive is the working drive. That is, people use it for their daily work on client projects. We often run out of space on this drive. The S drive is our archive drive. We have to keep all of our electronic files for a really long time (legal reasons). Once a project is 'done', it should be moved to the S drive, but I am the only one with write-access to this drive. We don't allow everybody to move files back and forth between the two drives because we run the risk of deleting stuff from the S drive that we are supposed to keep.

Here is what currently happens:

People are supposed to tell me which projects to archive when they are done with those projects. Then, I have to manually move those to the S drive. The problem is that most of the time, parts of the projects have already been archived while others haven't. Sometimes, people need to "un-arhive" parts of certain projects, etc. So for each project, I have to be really careful about overwriting things and the whole process is very manual. To top it off, I cannot get people to tell me when they are done with projects, so it always comes down to "Holy Shit, there are only 20 GBs left on the drive and I have to run all this shit that will take up more space than that. Fix it now!"

I am a total admin noob, so I am not sure how to improve this situation, and I am not really sure what the "name" of this problem is, so I have had a hard time googling. Can you recommend any tools or processes to help?

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As per one of the answers, you're looking for an archiving solution. You might want to look into a NAS with snapshots that allows you to keep point in time backups without spending a lot of hardware on them. –  Basil Nov 2 '11 at 20:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well first of all, chin up. You've been asked to provide a technical solution to a management problem.

It seems to me that the people you work for need to do one of two things:

  1. Provide you timely information about which projects are complete, so they can be archived; or
  2. Increase the size of the online storage (V drive).

Still, you're looking for a way to better automate the process.

This almost seems like a job for a good backup system, like BackupPC. If you have, say, daily backups, and you keep them for a long time, then people can just delete their projects when they're done with them (as long as all of the files have been there at least a day, so they've been backed up). Users won't have write access to the archive drive, but the backup system will. This might not meet all of your requirements, but it would get you a lot of the way there.

I don't know of any better name for this problem than just archiving.

Good luck.

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Get rid of the two drives and store everything in two different directories on the same drive. That way you won't have a smaller amount of space in the working area, and moving things to the archive directory will be instantaneous.

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good idea. i think part of the problem with this is that the V drive is high-performance ($$$) and users are writing and sharing very large data sets on it frequently. the S drive has much more space but is lower performance. i will ask about this. –  oob Nov 2 '11 at 21:48

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