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Cincinnati Public Library (CHPL) Safeguards Digital Archives and Bolsters Disaster Recovery with Qumulo

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Cincinnati Public Library saves time and money with Qumulo

The residents of Cincinnati, Ohio, view their award-winning public library system as one of their most cherished local institutions. Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library (CHPL) has been cultivating curiosity since the moment they first opened their doors in 1853. Since then, it has evolved into one of the biggest and busiest libraries in the United States. With 41 neighborhood branches, their team manages a vast range of programming and an ever-growing collection of virtual resources.

Solving the challenges of managing unstructured data at scale

For CHPL System Administrator Orion Trist, the rapid growth of the organization’s digital footprint has presented some challenges in terms of scale. While e-books and audiobooks are available through third party applications, Trist’s team oversees a plethora of unstructured data that is continually being generated by internal groups and projects. For example, their digital services team digitizes documents, photos, and films at a pace of more than 10 terabytes a year. This group also contributes to the Digital Public Library of America, so the data must be available to them as well.

“Qumulo has been a game changer for us,” says Trist. “Before we had a number of different storage systems, and it got really cumbersome and clunky. With Qumulo it’s great to have everything in one place while supporting multiple workflows. The speed is noticeably faster and makes the digital services team’s jobs easier and more efficient.”

CHPL chooses Qumulo for safeguarding digital archives

Previously, Trist’s team leveraged traditional SAN storage that tended to fill up quickly and required files to be actively moved around in order to make more space. Some teams even used external hard drives for storage which weren’t always properly backed up. The entire setup was not sustainable for a growing organization, and Trist identified Qumulo as a more scalable, long term option.

Some of the most poignant data Trist’s team manages is tied to the Veterans History Project coordinated by the Library of Congress (LOC). The Veterans History Project encourages Americans to play a personal role in preserving the nation’s history by collecting first-hand accounts of those who served during wartime. The collection includes audio and video-recorded oral histories and documentary materials including photos, diaries, and letters. Duplicate copies of all the materials are shared with the LOC for inclusion in their archives and national database.

“After transitioning over to Qumulo, it’s been a situation of ‘set it and forget it’ in the best possible way. We run regular updates, but that’s it,” says Trist. 

Another noteworthy initiative is “Cincinnati Stories: Increasing Civic Awareness” which helps the local community stay in tune with the local civic landscape. In late 2021 CHPL used grant money to digitize 20 years worth of unedited episodes of “Local 12 Newsmakers”, a long form local news show, and made them available on the library’s robust YouTube channel. All of this data is stored on the Qumulo file data platform.

Snapshot, replication & data protection capabilities with real time visibility 


Looking to the future, CHPL’s Eva Jane Romaine Executive Director Paula Brehm-Heeger realizes the importance of not only leveraging quality technology solutions to provide access, but also protecting library data against the ongoing threats of ransomware and natural disasters.

Disaster recovery & continuity planning remain a top priority

“In the past few  years several major library systems have experienced disruptions due to network security attacks. Keeping data safe and avoiding service interruptions are a top priority for us,” says Brehm-Heeger. 

CHPL have a second Qumulo cluster for disaster recovery purposes. Qumulo’s snapshot, replication, and data protection capabilities plus the real time visibility available through built in monitoring tools helped to seal the decision.

“When I have reached out to the QumuloCare team through Slack, it’s amazing to connect with someone in real time. I recognize some of the names in the channel at this point, and connecting with a familiar face is pretty cool,” adds Trist.


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