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Secure & affordable storage for your digital content


Why Should I Use the OLRC?


The OLRC automatically replicates every file to three geographically separate locations. If one of these replicas becomes unreadable, a new replica is created by the system from the two remaining available replicas and is stored in a different location to ensure consistent, reliable access.


The OLRC keeps costs low by taking advantage of economical commodity storage and the ORION high-speed network that connects Ontario’s universities, thereby eliminating the data transfer charges typical of commercial cloud storage services.


The OLRC stores and reads files using simple HTTP protocols. This means that it can be integrated into a wide variety of workflows and applications, and accessed from any Internet-connected device for easy file management.


The OLRC storage nodes are connected through the private ORION research network and housed in university owned and operated data centers across Ontario. No traffic travels over the public internet, and connections use SSL encryption. All data uploaded is encrypted at rest.


  • OpenStack

    The OLRC is based on OpenStack, an open-source software platform for cloud computing. OpenStack is actively developed by hundreds of developers globally, and used by public cloud providers, corporations, and universities to deliver enterprise cloud services.

  • Horizon

    The OLRC can be accessed via a web application called Horizon. Horizon is Openstack’s default dashboard where you can manage users and projects, and browse, upload and download files.

  • DuraCloud

    DuraCloud is an open-source application designed for preservation management across storage systems. Using DuraCloud enables users to store and sync additional copies with separate storage providers and automate independent fixity checks. DuraCloud has been modified to use the OLRC by Scholars Portal and the University of Toronto Libraries thanks to support from CANARIE.

  • Archivematica

    Archivematica offers an open-source workflow for digital preservation processing. Through the Archivematica Storage Service application, containers and spaces in Horizon and DuraCloud can be designated as destinations for both preservation and access copies. Scholars Portal offers hosted instances of Archivematica connected to the OLRC through the Permafrost digital preservation service.

Use Cases

How Can I Use the OLRC?

Archival Storage

Archival Storage

Long-term storage for archival data

Static Websites

Static Websites

Host static web pages

Video Hosting

Video Hosting

Host and play video content

Participating Institutions

The following institutions contribute financially and in-kind to the development of the OLRC.

The OLRC runs on network services provided by GTANet and ORION. Additional funding support has been provided by CANARIE.


How much does the OLRC cost?

Description Cost
Base Subscription * $1380/year
Additional Storage:
Per 1 TB $276/year
Per 10 TB $2604/year
Per 50 TB $12272/year
One-Time Investment Fee (Non-OCUL Libraries) ** $1000
Data Transfer Services *** $75/hour
Network Data Transfer Fees No Charge

* Includes 5TB of object storage, technical support from Scholars Portal staff, and voting representation on governance group (OCUL libraries only).

** Libraries outside of OCUL will be charged a one-time initial investment fee when joining the service. Other fees will be charged at the same rate as OCUL libraries, as listed in the table above.

*** From disk or tape to the cloud; Charged per hour of staff time.


Frequently Asked Questions

The OLRC is a distributed object storage network managed by Scholars Portal on behalf of subscribing member libraries. Storage nodes are geographically distributed among five data centers located at member institutions. Content in the network is replicated automatically among storage nodes at these five data centers.

Access to the cloud is restricted by credentials and IP address. Content can be transferred to and from the cloud using the OpenStack Swift API, the S3 API, or any tool that implements these APIs.

The cloud storage service is intended to provide Canadian university libraries with an economical option for the long-term storage of digital objects. A digital object can be any kind of file, but will typically be some kind of content object – a geospatial file, a digital video, a PDF, a scanned image – that is not likely to change over its lifespan. Ideal uses of the Cloud are for storage of large volumes of content that would be too expensive to store on a file server, but that may need to be accessed often enough to make tape storage problematic. All data uploaded to the OLRC is subject to the OLRC Terms of Use.

Cloud storage may not always the best option for your storage needs. Please contact Scholars Portal if you have questions about your use cases.

The Ontario Library Research Cloud is a subscription service. Subscribing libraries will be charged for the storage they have consumed in the cloud on an annual basis. Fees will be calculated based on each TB of storage used, rounded up to the nearest TB, as of May 1st of each year. A base fee calculated on 5 TB of storage will apply to each subscriber. Invoices for storage will be issued by the OCUL Office to the subscribing library.

The Ontario Library Research Cloud is governed by a committee reporting to the OCUL Executive that has responsibility for reviewing subscription fees on an annual basis. Fees are calculated to recover the cost of hardware and staff needed to support and grow the service. As these costs change over time, the per TB subscription fee will be adjusted. Costs will be reviewed by the Cloud Storage Committee for approval by the OCUL Executive and presentation at the fall Directors’ meeting. The new fees will be applied at the beginning of the immediately following fiscal year, normally May 1.

No charges will be levied for network use, either for uploads or downloads to the Cloud. However, this policy may be reviewed if ORION or campus network providers begin to charge the OLRC partners for network connectivity. If you need to transfer large volumes of data from legacy media (tape or disk) and want to have this done by Scholars Portal, this work will be charged on an hourly rate.

User support will be provided to all subscribing libraries by Scholars Portal.

If you need some time to figure out if object storage is the right solution for your needs, or some time to figure out how to integrate it with your content workflows, you can ask Scholars Portal staff to set you up with a trial subscription. This will give you access to 5 TB of storage, technical support from Scholars Portal staff, as well as non-voting representation on the governance committee for the Cloud. Trial subscriptions normally run for 6 months.

Network nodes in the Storage Cloud are connected through ORION, the high-speed research network that is supported by Ontario’s universities. Data is transferred between nodes over a private network within the ORION infrastructure. All uploads and downloads from the Cloud are secured via SSL. All data uploaded to the OLRC is encrypted at rest.

Backup of data within the cloud relies on replication of data between nodes. Tape backup is not provided as part of the subscription fee. Please contact Scholars Portal to discuss options for tape backup or backup into a secondary cloud.

Final authority for the operation of the Cloud service rests with the member libraries. If a decision is made to terminate the service, all subscribing members will be provided with at least 6 months notice and assistance from Scholars Portal staff to extract and transfer their data to another cloud provider or to tape or portable hard disk.

Contact us

Have a question about the OLRC? Check out our documentation or contact us below.