News
6/3/2011
12:08 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

How To Design A 100 Year Data Retention Strategy

A cost effective hardware strategy is only the first step, a process and software strategy is vital to identifying for retention and moving it from primary storage.

100 years is a long time to retain anything let alone electronic data. While not everyone needs to retain data for that long, most organizations have retention needs at least in the seven to 10 year range. Most modern storage systems, however, are not designed to last more than five years, so how to create a storage strategy that can retain data for more than a century?

There are two components to a 100-year retention strategy. The first is to develop a hardware strategy that can cost effectively store that data for the next 100 years. The second is to develop a software and process strategy that will identify and move data to the retention storage area, ideally removing it from primary storage. I believe we need to be driving toward a data center where primary storage is small, fast, and only used for the most active set of data. Even at today's prices, many environments could be solid-state storage only for their primary tier.

I am specifically avoiding calling this storage area an archive tier. Using the term archive implies that this data will be moved to the archive, never to be accessed again. Thanks to initiatives like analytics, litigation management, and compliance, this data will be accessed and the system needs to be able to deliver that data in a timely manner relative to its age and no matter what all the data needs to be easily found.

This does not mean though that the disk tier needs to be disk only. I struggle with how organizations are going to afford to be able to keep 100 years of data on spinning disk. I don’t think all the power management and deduplication in the world is not going to make 100 years of disk only retention a reality. Additionally tape has overcome some of its challenges when it comes to use as a long term archive specifically in the form of the Long Term File System (LTFS) as we discuss in our article "What is LTFS?". The answer for the retention storage area is going to be a mixture of tape and disk.

The disk component needs to be a scaleable infrastructure where nodes of storage can be added to the disk area. More importantly, as we describe in our recent article "Building Affordable, Scalable Storage Infrastructures", these scaleable designs need to support mixed node types. This means nodes of varying disk capacity and processor types but still acting as one within the cluster. This is important because it allows for a rolling migration of storage nodes as equipment ages. Meaning that, over time, you can add new nodes with the latest processors and storage while at the same time gradually deactivating older nodes. This allows you to upgrade the cluster but not have to do a massive data migration, which, depending on the archive, may be almost impossible because of the capacity of the storage area.

The size of the disk component of this retention tier though should be kept at a reasonable level for what you need. Analytics (Big Data) will need to be larger because of the amount of data that needs to be scanned. Compliance and other forms of retention areas can have smaller disk areas but will still be large in comparison to primary storage. The fact that scale out systems can potentially scale to hundreds of nodes does not mean that you want to power, cool, and protect hundreds of nodes. At some point, and I know the disk guys won't like this, you really do need to push to tape. In the past, I have advocated for a disk only repository but LTFS in large part changes all that. I’ll explain why and how to use tape in this 100 year retention strategy in our next entry.

Follow Storage Switzerland on Twitter

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1750
Published: 2015-07-01
Open redirect vulnerability in nokia-mapsplaces.php in the Nokia Maps & Places plugin 1.6.6 for WordPress allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the href parameter to page/place.html. NOTE: this was originally reported as cross-sit...

CVE-2014-1836
Published: 2015-07-01
Absolute path traversal vulnerability in htdocs/libraries/image-editor/image-edit.php in ImpressCMS before 1.3.6 allows remote attackers to delete arbitrary files via a full pathname in the image_path parameter in a cancel action.

CVE-2015-0848
Published: 2015-07-01
Heap-based buffer overflow in libwmf 0.2.8.4 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted BMP image.

CVE-2015-1330
Published: 2015-07-01
unattended-upgrades before 0.86.1 does not properly authenticate packages when the (1) force-confold or (2) force-confnew dpkg options are enabled in the DPkg::Options::* apt configuration, which allows remote man-in-the-middle attackers to upload and execute arbitrary packages via unspecified vecto...

CVE-2015-1950
Published: 2015-07-01
IBM PowerVC Standard Edition 1.2.2.1 through 1.2.2.2 does not require authentication for access to the Python interpreter with nova credentials, which allows KVM guest OS users to discover certain PowerVC credentials and bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified Python code.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marc Spitler, co-author of the Verizon DBIR will share some of the lesser-known but most intriguing tidbits from the massive report