Velocity – End of Life

January 25, 2019

After many years of use, the Velocity service (velocity.ncsu.edu) is being shut down. We’d like to take the opportunity to share some history of the service, and explain the reasons for why the service is being retired.

A Brief History of the Service

Velocity was created in 2008 by Alan Gerber in the College of Natural Resources in response to faculty needing to physically mail disks in order to transfer data between institutions. When Alan moved to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences a few years later, the project followed him, and CHASS supported and maintained the service. In October of 2015, CHASS decided to sunset the project; however, since the College of Engineering made frequent use of the service, ITECS adopted the project, moved it onto new hardware, and modified the code to work with the new Shibboleth authentication system.  

Current Usage Data

Although the original intent of the Velocity service was to provide a digital transfer service for large files, the usage of the service today has veered more towards generic online file storage. At the time of writing, the 11,963 files currently stored in velocity have an average lifespan of 3.43 years (with a median value of 3.69 years).   

The service is also not currently used mainly for “large” files. The average size of a file currently stored in Velocity is just under 200MB (and the median value is just over 2MB). With the current state of storage and bandwidth, we’re rapidly approaching the point where a gigabyte of data is no longer considered exceptionally large. In fact, of the 11,963 active files, only 418 are larger than 1GB, with the largest being 250GB in size. 

The State of Online Storage

Since the project’s conception in 2008, the availability of  reliable online storage has blossomed to provide a wide array of solutions. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft offer cheap, reliable online storage services for long term file storage. In particular, with the agreements that NC State University has with Google, each NC State user has unlimited free storage via Google Drive. 

Velocity End of Life

Due to the current usage patterns of the service, and the broad availability of online file storage solutions today, ITECS has made the decision to retire the Velocity service. Velocity will continue to operate “as-is” until May 24th, 2019, and users are free to continue to use the service as a file transfer system until it is shut down at the end of May. Please note that with the retirement of the Netbackup service in October, there are no backups of the data stored in Velocity, and we will be unable to recover deleted files.   

For most users of the service, Google Drive should act as an acceptable replacement for transferring and storing files. We recommend using Google File Stream for files over 500MB in size rather than the web interface. 

EOL Timeline

Oct 25 2018    – NetBackup Service Retired by OIT
Jan 23, 2019   – Notice sent to active Velocity users informing them of EOL
Jan 25, 2019   – Blog post published on the ITECS website
May 20, 2019 – Final reminder sent to active users
May 24, 2019 – Velocity Service Retired

 

Please contact eoshelp@ncsu.edu if you have any questions or concerns.