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12/9/2008
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George Crump
George Crump
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The No Migration Strategy

I am a believer in getting old data off primary storage as fast as possible and previous entries have discussed manual migration, agent migration, and global file systems. One I have missed is the no migration strategy.

I am a believer in getting old data off primary storage as fast as possible and previous entries have discussed manual migration, agent migration, and global file systems. One I have missed is the no migration strategy.As I have written in the past, disk-based archiving from companies like Permabit, Data Domain, NexSAN and EMC changes the dynamics of how data is archived and how aggressively it is archived, enabling you to go after data the moment it goes stale as opposed to waiting for it to be stale for a year prior to migrating it.

What is no migration? Well, it is the ability to send data directly to the archive, bypassing primary storage altogether. This is data that is on its way to you, and you know you will need to keep it for either reference or for legal retention, but for the most part that need will not be immediate. Instead of storing this data on primary storage, it might make more sense to store it directly on the archive.

For example, Permabit has a client that is storing expense reports directly on archive storage. Essentially, these expense reports are being sent in from the entire sales organization and once those reports are checked and signed off on, don't wait for them to age off primary storage -- store them directly on archive storage.

Disk-based archiving is really the key to being able to store data directly on the archive, bypassing the migration process. In most cases, disk archives present their archive storage via a network mount point (CIFS or NFS) and as a result show up as just another drive on the network. With that a user, once given access, can store data directly to the archive, saving primary storage space immediately.

As I wrote about in "Your Primary Storage is NOT Growing", active data isn't growing very quickly at all, some studies show less than 5%. By storing data directly to the archive, this number can be brought even lower, but the key is disk archive.

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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.

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