TechMarketView: Tessella to preserve Met Office records
You may have read Richard’s comments recently on the way that digital media is failing pass the test of time (see Passing the Test of Time). He lamented the fact that as floppy discs, diskettes, VHS video cassettes etc have become obsolete the only accessible records he has prior to 1995 are in paper form on the bookcase. We were therefore very interested to hear news from privately-held UK tech firm Tessella, which has been chosen by the Met Office to digitally preserve and make publicly available historical meteorological records.
The Met Office is using Preservica, Tessella’s cloud-based digital preservation service, to preserve both digital publications and scanned versions of original meteorological records. Preservica is designed to overcome the challenges of both hardware and file formats becoming obsolete, actively preserving digital media so that they’re always up-to-date and ‘findable’ despite exponential growth in the volume of data stored. Preservica has its roots in the Safety Deposit Box technology that Tessella developed for the UK National Archives, but being SaaS-based it’s accessible to a much wider range of organisations for a lot less than it would cost to run such a specialist service in-house.
To date, Tessella has focused its digital preservation products on large archives and libraries, but with Preservica it has the ability to move into the commercial world to hold business records that need long term retention, even for SMEs. It is now looking to embed its preservation technology within content management or records management systems. We can see this being a sizeable opportunity for Tessella, which only derived about £2m of its £21m turnover from archiving last year. If all goes to plan, it should help Tessella, fresh from its PE-backed MBO last year, to another year of strong growth in FY14 (see Tessella delivers third year of record growth).