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Data Management

Selecting Storage Options

Selecting storage options should take place during the planning phase of the project. Frequently, this can rely on the functionality of the software or equipment being used - if working on a grant funded project, there may be requirements in the grant for storing data.

If anything needs to be purchased or requires a connection to St. Olaf infrastructure, please contact the IT Helpdesk so we can assist!

Google Drive

Why Google Drive?

Google Drive is the preferred and recommended storage option for projects and data at St Olaf. While there may be an initial storage size cap placed on Drive, a size increase can be requested from the IT Helpdesk at anytime.

In terms of storage management, IT has the ability to manage Google Drive and data contained in Drive more so than other options. We can also assist with transferring information, switching ownership, or recovering lost files. It is also the best option for multiple collaborators that require real-time editing.

For projects that require a very large amount of editors (more that 10), Google Drive is the best tools to handle the amount of editors needed.


When should I use this?

  • Flexible storage sizes needed
  • A large amount of collaborators that require real-time editing
  • Editing with multiple users in the same file at the same time
  • If multiple "owner level" users are needed for the data


How do I get more Google storage or request help with Google Drive?

Request more storage at the IT Helpdesk.

Network Drive (S Drive)

Why Network Drives (S Drive)?

Network Drive can be a good option for software or equipment that relies on incredibly stable folder pathnames, or technology that is not compatible with Google Drive or other cloud services.

There is some accommodation for collaboration - some limitation on real-time editing, but multiple editors can have access to project files. Storage size can be large enough for big data projects, but may not be as flexible as Google Drive storage quotas. For long term research projects, a consultation may be requested to get a better understanding of needs for the project.

For additional information on Network Drives at St. Olaf, visit the IT Helpdesk.


When should I use this?

  • Software in the project is not compatible with Google Drive or other cloud services
  • Ideal for projects that may have multiple collaborators, but not necessarily require multiple editors in the same file at the same time.


Long-Term Network Drive Use & Storage

For long-term Network Drive use - periodic emails are sent out to inquire about the drive use. If the drive is over the storage limit, you will receive notices to contact IT until the drive is under the limit.


How do I request a Network Drive?

Request a Network Drive via the IT Helpdesk.

Users are granted access to Network Drive in Account Services - this can be done by anyone that is an owner on the drive.

External Hard Drives

Why an External Hard Drive (HD)?

External hard drives are portable, easy to use, and can provide a large amount of storage whenever you need it - no internet, nor subscription account needed. External drives can be moved from computer to computer making sharing files easy - although real-time editing on shared files is very limited (i.e. not possible in most cases).

External hard drives come in a broad range of storage capacities, connectivity options and speeds, as well as price points. Because of their usually large storage capacities (often in the terabytes), external hard drives are frequently used to store large amounts of video, image, audio, and/or backed up files.


When should I use this?

  • Projects that have long-term (years) storage needs 
  • Projects that have a massive amount of data - big data projects
  • Need to move information between multiple machines or locations
  • Working with equipment or software not compatible with Google Drive or other cloud services
  • Big media projects that are working with video or audio editing


How should I request an External Hard Drive?

External Hard Drives can be purchased through the IT Tech Request process, with research, or grant funds. While SSD's (Solid State Drives) are generally recommended, please reach out to IT with specific needs and questions regarding your external HD configurations and current suggestions.

For questions on obtaining an External Hard Drive, contact the IT Helpdesk.

One Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and Other Storage

One Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud can be used with limitations.

  • One Drive - St. Olaf has access to One Drive via our Microsoft Office license. Only 10 mb of storage is allowed for One Drive, which is enough to work with some of the cloud service options (ie OneNote). We are not able to grant more storage for One Drive at this time, so it is recommended to use Google Drive for storing Microsoft Office files.
  • Dropbox and iCloud - St. Olaf accounts can be used to sign up for these services, however - we do not have a license for Dropbox or iCloud. All users are responsible for their own accounts - if additional storage is needed, contact the Dropbox or iCloud services to request a storage increase.
    • St. Olaf does not purchase additional storage for Dropbox or iCloud.

When leaving or graduating from the college - make sure to transfer files from One Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud to a personal account in order to preserve the information. Once your St. Olaf account is deactivated, you will lose access to these services unless they are switched to a personal account.


Other Storage - RAID Array/Network Storage

This type of storage may be an option or required for large data projects or projects that are grant funded with specific storage requirements. 

If this may be needed:

  • Discuss all of these options BEFORE submitting a grant proposal for the project!
  • Setting up this type of storage will require extra time and understanding of the project needs. Please reach out to IT asap so we can work with you on how to support the project

Need a different storage method?

Do you need a different type of storage method than what is mentioned in this guide?

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss options! Book a consultation by submitted a File Storage Request at the IT Helpdesk. In the ticket description, make a note that you need to explore different storage options.