1. Executive Summary
Digital curation involves a wide range of activities, many of which may be suitable for deployment within a cloud environment. These range from infrequent, resource-intensive tasks which will benefit from the ability to rapidly provision resources, to day-to-day collaborative activities which can be facilitated by networked cloud services. Associated benefits are offset by risks such as loss of data or service level, legal and governance incompatibilities and transfer bottlenecks. There is considerable variability across both risks and benefits according to the service and deployment models being adopted and the context in which activities are performed. Some risks, such as legal liabilities, are mitigated by the use of alternatives, for example, private cloud models, but this is typically at the expense of benefits such as resource elasticity and economies of scale. The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model may provide a basis on which more specialised software services may be provided.
There is considerable work to be done in helping institutions understand the cloud and its associated costs, risks and benefits, and how these compare to their current working methods, in order that the most beneficial uses of cloud technologies may be identified. Specific proposals, echoing recent work coordinated by EPSRC and JISC are the development of advisory, costing and brokering services to facilitate appropriate cloud deployments, the exploration of opportunities for certifying or accrediting cloud preservation providers, and the targeted publicity of outputs from pilot studies to the full range of stakeholders within the curation lifecycle, including data creators and owners, repositories, institutional IT support professionals and senior managers.