Sustainable Digital Storage: Grounded in Service and Stewardship

Author: Courtney Kroschel

Sustainable Digital Storage

Over the years, research and scholarship at Notre Dame have grown both in volume and sophistication. As a result, the demand for storage has grown exponentially. In 2022, Notre Dame broke its research award funding record for the second year in a row, showing promise for further development. As the University continues to grow in all capacities, a practical and sustainable digital space is of utmost importance to enable all campus members to share and store their work.

Since 2007, Google Workspace has been a strategically important investment for Notre Dame, providing email, calendaring, chat, storage, collaboration tools, and more. In the 2010s, many cloud companies, like Google, offered unlimited storage as part of their services. Yet the continued growth of storage usage forced most providers to reverse course.

In 2021, Google announced it would stop offering free, unlimited storage to higher education customers. With this announcement, University leadership began evaluating solutions that balanced both the University’s need for digital storage with the responsibility of resource stewardship. The result of these extensive conversations led to a decision that allows Notre Dame to keep its storage use manageable without compromising user needs.

On May 23, 2023, Notre Dame will allocate storage to each Google account based on their current usage. This implementation will cause no noticeable impact to Google Workspace and allocations will be sufficient to meet each individual’s needs, including anticipated growth.

The goal of this measure is to become aware of and take responsibility for the University’s digital storage. After May 23, if individuals near their storage limit, they will receive an alert from Google and may request additional storage. Such requests may include consultation to ensure that the use case is paired with the appropriate solution.

“Storage is crucial for enabling the university’s mission and operations. We continue to collaborate closely with our partners to ensure that we have the right storage to meet the varied needs of our community,” said Jane Livingston, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “Google is a big piece of the puzzle, but it isn’t the only platform we have. From research storage to video asset management to long-term archiving, we need sustainable storage solutions that grow along with our University.”

Regardless of current storage use, it is important to be aware of the files and downloads that live in Google Drive. If you don’t need it, delete it. The Conquer Your Clutter initiative offers several simple ways to tidy up Google Workspace and is a valuable resource for any member of campus.

Learn more about this change and Notre Dame’s commitment to a sustainable digital storage solution below: