Optimizing Your Data Archives

One of IT’s biggest jobs is the storage and archiving of data, and with an endless variety of ever-changing storage media and a confusing thicket of compliance rules that change from industry to industry, it’s never easy to find the right storage strategy for any particular organization at any particular moment in time.

In an Enterprise Systems interview about storage strategies, Jim O’Connor, director of product marketing at Bus-Tech, says archiving is especially complicated and hard to get right.

Although the data is static and a company will rarely, if ever, need to access it, those with the ability to do so quickly and efficiently are light years ahead of those that treat it otherwise. Today’s investments in archiving have foolishly become focused entirely on media capacity. Unfortunately, cramming more information into historically unreliable, complicated, and inefficient media will only exacerbate any future problems that arise.

And despite all the storage innovations of the past 20 years, it’s interesting how IT clings to tape,because it’s “a legacy technology with deep market penetration (meaning less upfront investment), and…a relatively stationary medium”

Unlike newer open systems technologies, tape is an “all-or-nothing” medium when it comesbackward or cross-vendor compatibility. Tape continues to evolve, but rapid changes in the technology have, in many cases, done more harm than good. For example, one of the leading tape manufacturers introduced seven new “generations” of tape technology in a 10-year span. Not only are the migrations between generations slow, but they’re costly, and new tape technologies still fall short in meeting the performance or lifespan requirements of e-discovery and compliance.

O’Connor goes on to contrast tape and disk. It’s an educational read for anyone who’s flummoxed by all the storage options available today.

— Don Willmott