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Secure & affordable storage for your digital content
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Why Should I Use the OLRC?


The OLRC automatically maintains three copies of every file in the cloud in three separate locations across the network. If one of these copies becomes unreadable, a new copy is created by the system from the two remaining good copies.


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.


Storage nodes in the OLRC are connected through the private ORION research network, and are housed in university owned and operated data centers across Ontario. None of the traffic travels over the public internet, and connections use SSL encryption.


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.


  • 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.

  • Swiftbrowser

    The OLRC can easily be accessed via a web application developed by Scholars Portal called SwiftBrowser. SwiftBrowser allows users to upload files to OLRC containers through a simple drag and drop web interface. SwiftBrowser is available as a hosted application through Scholars Portal, or can be downloaded from Github and installed locally.

  • Archivematica

    Archivematica is an open-source digital preservation workflow management application. Through its Storage Service module, Swift containers can be designated as storage destinations for both AIPs and DIPs. This allows the OLRC to be integrated into Archivematica preservation workflows, and in turn, Archivematica integrates with repository tools.

  • ownCloud

    Developed as an open-source alternative to tools like Dropbox, ownCloud is an application that allows users to access their files on the web. Local folders can be synchronized with folders stored in the cloud, and files can be uploaded to the cloud using standard file browser services. ownCloud can be configured to connect to the OLRC through the OpenStack Swift API. Scholars Portal will be offering ownCloud as a service in 2017, and it can also be installed by local system administrators.

Use Cases

How Can I Use the OLRC?

Archival Storage

Keep archival data for long-term storage

Static Websites

Host static web pages

Video Hosting

Host and play video content

Participating Institutions

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

The OLRC runs on network services provided by GTANet and ORION.


How much does the OLRC cost?

OCUL Libraries

Base Subscription * $1600/year
Additional Storage:
Per 1 TB $320/year
Per 10 TB $3100/year
Per 50 TB $15500/year
Data Transfer Services ** $75/hour
Network Data Transfer Fees No Charge
Tape Backup Pricing Available on Request

Other Canadian Libraries

Base Subscription * $3950/year
Additional Storage:
Per 1 TB $790/year
Per 10 TB $7700/year
Per 50 TB $39500/year
Data Transfer Services ** $100/hour
Network Data Transfer Fees No Charge
Tape Backup Pricing Available on Request

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

** 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 OCUL member libraries. Storage nodes are geographically distributed among 5 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 username/password and IP address.  Content can be transferred to and from the cloud using the OpenStack Swift API or any tool that implements this API.

The cloud storage service is intended to provide OCUL 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. 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 OCUL Storage 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 OCUL Storage 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 for universities in Ontario.

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 through 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.

Backup of data within the cloud relies on replication of data between nodes. Unless specifically requested, 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 OCUL 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.

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