Providing a solution to preserve the Imperial War Museums’ digital archive | ET Works
Case Study

Providing a solution to preserve the Imperial War Museums’ digital archive

Imperial War Museums digitally preserve the history of modern war and wartime experience indefinitely with ET and Spectra Logic Archive

”When we set out on our search to find a storage solution capable of preserving Imperial War Museums’ substantial digital archive, there were specific criteria on which we were not willing to compromise. Spectra met all of our requirements and then some, with its T950 tape library and BlackPearl gateway to deep storage.”


Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a series of five historical museums (IWM London, IMW North, IWM Duxford, the Churchill War Rooms and the HMS Belfast) located across England. Founded in 1917 by Sir Alfred Mond MP, the museum’s original purpose was to collect and record events taking place during the Great War (WWI). Today, the museums’ goal is to provide for, and encourage the study and understanding of, the history of modern war and ‘wartime experience.’ IWM is partially funded by government grants as well as charitable donations and commercial activity, and houses a collection of more than 10,700,000 items.

When it came to preserving their content, Imperial War Museums (IWM) had been facing issues regarding reliability, insufficient capacity and longevity of support with their previous storage solution. They had been archiving their data to standalone disk storage, which was failing to meet their unique data center requirements. It was important that they find a solution that would not only satisfy their organization’s needs, but also go above and beyond their expectations, all at an affordable price.


  • Spectra T950 with LTO-5 tape drives
  • Media Spectra T950
  • IBM® TS1150 tape drives
  • Media Spectra BlackPearl
  • Spectra ArcticBlue BlackPearl®
  • Eon Browser
  • JAVA CLI Symantec BackupExec
  • 15 Synology DSM6
  • Windows server 2012R2
  • 10GB Ethernet and 8GB fibre channel connectivity
  • HP Procurve 10GB & Brocade 300 switches
  • 500TB of DPX format files
  • 50TB of rendition data

When IWM decided to search for a new solution, scalability was a major priority. The museum manages more than 550TB of data total, accumulating up to 10TB of new video footage each month, and anticipates exponential data growth over time. They opted for a tape-based solution, due to tape’s reputation for large-scale capacity. Having considered several different tape vendors, IWM ultimately decided to go with Spectra Logic.

Spectra’s BlackPearl allows IWM to set policies that automatically store their assets on multiple storage mediums with one copy of their assets on disk, and two copies on differing tape drive technologies, ensuring digital preservation for many years to come. Through the utilization of genetically diverse media, the organization is assured that their data is always safe and secure. In addition, IWM was impressed with the user interface and the simplicity of transferring content from one storage medium to another. Spectra’s solution offers IWM the capacity, reliability and product longevity they sought for an extremely affordable price, and is backeby Spectra’s efficient, award-winning support services.


Scalability, reliability, genetic diversity, exceptional support, ease of use product longevity.




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