AARNet CloudStor – File transfer for researchers

Posted: March 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Data storage comes in many different forms, from DropBox, your desktop hard drive, to USB sticks and network windows shares. Each type of storage has its features and its pitfalls in portability, security, usability, access speed, retention period and data safety. CloudStor is a service hosted by AARNet which gives you a temporary place to safely store files – large and small – making it easier to share your data with anyone you choose.

The CloudStor pilot service went live in early 2010 and as of two weeks ago the service has officially gone into production. Since Melbourne University researchers started using the service a few months ago, 74 people from the university have transferred over 300 files totalling 18 GB of downloads. In total, over 690 people have used the service across Australia to share files with collaborators and colleagues within their institution, nationally and internationally.

Some facts about CloudStor:

  • The service runs completely via your web browser, and can be accessed at https://cloudstor.aarnet.edu.au/filesender/
  • Your usual Melbourne University email username and password can be used to log into the service
  • Data is sent over the 10Gb AARNet network, which the University of Melbourne has a 10Gb connection to
  • You can send your file to up to 100 people
  • Data is stored in an AARNet data centre in Queensland
  • There is a file size limit of 100 GB. People have so far been transferring files as small as 4 KB up to multiple GB.
  • The service has been used to send video files, genomic sequence data and even journal papers that are too big to email, amongst other things.

When you want to upload your data you:

  1. Specify who you want to send the file to
  2. Set the expiry date – this is how long it’s kept on CloudStor for (20 days by default is the maximum – you can change this setting)
  3. Select your file
  4. Click on Send

So what about security? When the file is ‘sent’, what actually happens is a link (a voucher in CloudStor-speak) is sent to your recipients. This link is near impossible to guess, so your files are secure and private as long as no one else knows the link.

Finally, what happens if you need a file from someone who can’t log into CloudStor?  Like an overseas collaborator? That’s easy, you just send them a voucher that they can upload with!

The CloudStor folk are always interested in feedback, so please get in touch with them with your feedback, good or bad on eresearch@aarnet.edu.au . And of course, we here in Research Services would love to hear about your use of this service, so please get in touch.

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