Equipment

Apart from the usual office equipment for your administrative staff, the main equipment need for a repository is a server. Check you repository software product's 'Systems Requirements' for the relevant specification.

Unless you want the hassle of looking after this yourself, the best approach is to have your server managed by your central IT services. You are likely to be offered the option of a shared or virtual server, or a dedicated server. Try not to get bogged down by equipment costs. The real bottom line is performance. Slow performance will reduce your end-users' willingness to use the repository, so it does nobody any favours to trade off performance against price. If necessary, run a trial to check that the performance will be acceptable. This implies that you have defined your acceptance criteria for such things as time to load the home page, time to log on, time to change pages, time to download a typical PDF, etc.

Some software products expect all your systems software to be on the same server. This tends to be the norm, but you might find that, for example, you institution usually handles web pages on one server, and MySQL databases on another. If this split approach causes undue complications, press for a dedicated server.

Maintenance of the server should be a standard part of your IT services. You should consider what will happen if your server breaks down, or needs to be shut down for maintenance. Ideally, everything should fail-over to another machine.

You should also keep a weather eye out for server, operating system, and systems software upgrades. Your central IT services may already have a rolling programme of upgrades, in which case you should ensure you will be notified well in advance of any upgrades, in case there are implications for your repository software. Additionally, you may need to initiate an upgrade if you find that performance is degrading to an unacceptable level. Assume an operational life of two to three years, and budget and plan accordingly.

Find out more from the JISC Digital Repositories infoKit