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Archiving Your Way To Efficiency

In an earlier post, You Can't DeDupe IT Administration, I discuss the problem with optimizing primary storage. While it is incredibly valuable to be able to squeeze more data into less storage footprint, from an administrative standpoint you still have to manage the data, there is limited increase in efficiency. Archiving however, especially disk based archive can provide tremendous gains in efficiency.
In an earlier post, You Can't DeDupe IT Administration, I discuss the problem with optimizing primary storage. While it is incredibly valuable to be able to squeeze more data into less storage footprint, from an administrative standpoint you still have to manage the data, there is limited increase in efficiency. Archiving however, especially disk based archive can provide tremendous gains in efficiency.As we discussed in our article archiving basics, archiving, especially disk based archiving allows you to move data from primary storage as it ages and is less frequently accessed. The disk nature of these disk archives, whether they are cloud based solutions like Iron Mountain, Mezeo or Bycast offer, or if they are on premise solutions like those offered by Copan Systems, NexSan or Permabit, allow you to be more aggressive with that migration strategy. This is because the access time to recover that archived data is still near instant, especially when compared to tape or optical, even though it is in an archive state.

That reduces primary storage costs similar to deduplication or compression, but how does it increase efficiency? Instead of putting more data into the same place like deduplication and compression do, archiving moves this data out of the way and out of the line of direct management by the IT Administrator. Again compression and deduplication are an important function and can be used in compliment to an archive strategy for complete primary storage cost reduction, but archiving is the method that reduces administration time.

In most studies you read this inactive data set will indicate that as much as 80% of data on primary storage is inactive. The typical justification for having this data around is in the event that you need it to respond to a legal action, regulatory compliance or some internal research. In truth however most data is kept around, "just in case".

Archive systems make management of this inactive data set easier by allowing you to move all this data to a single archive volume which is searchable and can maintain various legal hold requirements. Doing so allows you to only manage the data when the event occurs, which for most this data will be never. Imagine removing 80% of your headache and being able to focus on the data that really matters.

One way to do more with less is to have less to do more with. Moving data off of primary storage to a self protected archive that is easy to search to find data when you do need it allows you to archive your way to efficiency.

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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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