• USEK builds cultural data lake to preserve heritage

      Cultural archives find secure home in university library’s data lake thanks to digitization project powered by EMC 

    • Customer

      Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)

    • Industry


    • Offerings

      EMC Isilon, EMC XtremIO, EMC VNX5200, EMC RecoverPoint, EMC ViPR SRM, EMC Data Domain, EMC NetWorker, EMC Professional Services

    • Key Challenges

      Preserving cultural heritage through digitization

      Minimizing storage sprawl

      Enabling future projects with scalable infrastructure

    • Outcomes

      Staff access files in seconds

      Library ensures unique documents are secure

      University significantly reduces storage footprint

  • Our Approach

    EMC Heritage Trust enables digital vision

    With the challenge of digitizing, storing, and protecting its existing 100 terabytes of archive data, USEK started evaluating its options. “Everyone we talked to agreed EMC was the best,” says Ziad Eid, IT Director at USEK. His colleague Randa Al Chidiac, Executive Director of the USEK library, continues: “It was clear from the beginning that EMC was interested in what we do. It suggested we join the EMC Heritage Trust project. At the time, we couldn’t believe a commercial organization would offer such an initiative.”

    The EMC Heritage Trust provides grants to local institutions striving to preserve artifacts under their care. Funding delivered through the initiative enabled USEK to store its digitized collection using EMC Isilon technology, migrating data from servers across the university as well as thousands of external hard disks.

    “EMC really wanted to understand our storage challenges,” says Al Chidiac. “The team made several visits to the library and saw how we worked. Its approach struck a chord with us. It wasn’t just a sales pitch for a product: it passed on the message to all of us that EMC was genuinely interested in helping us preserve the heritage of Lebanon.”

    Isilon technology will ensure that the library can accommodate expected growth of around 300 terabytes of data over the next five years. Working closely with EMC, USEK has also embarked on other projects, including building a robust disaster recovery system and delivering the benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure to students. And, in addition to offering digitization services to other institutions in the region, USEK hopes to make its unique and rare collections available worldwide, and eventually publish materials online to provide a revenue stream for the university. This will help it continue its mission of securing the cultural heritage of Lebanon.

    • “We heard about how the Vatican Library chose EMC to support it in digitizing its entire catalogue of historic manuscripts. We thought that if the Vatican felt safe in EMC’s hands, then we would feel safe too. We are 100 percent confident that EMC understands the importance of the cultural heritage in this region that it’s our mission to preserve.”

      Randa Al Chidiac, Executive Director, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) Library

    • “Before, we had islands of storage. Data was scattered across the organization and often difficult to access, plus we didn’t have robust backup processes. Since migrating to EMC, I’ve heard a lot of great comments from end users—students, employees, staff. Everybody’s happy.”

      Ziad Eid, IT Director, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)

  • Outcomes

    Rare documents are stored safely

    Security of its archives was always a major concern for USEK. “Now, we know exactly where our material is located and we know who has access to it. With our EMC storage infrastructure, we’re confident that all our collections are safe and securely accessible,” says Al Chidiac.

    Huge capacity enables future projects

    The transformation USEK is seeing is only the start of its journey. Al Chidiac says, “We’re working with other institutions to digitize their archives, and soon we’ll start adding audiovisual and 3D data. With our EMC infrastructure, we have the capacity to accommodate all the things we want to do.”  

    Simple to manage, easy to access

    Information is now quicker to store, easier to locate, and faster to retrieve. Working with physical hard drives and servers spread across the university, it could take as long as half a day to access a specific file. “Now, we can do it in one click,” says Al Chidiac.