Choosing the Right Data Archiving Method

By CIOReview | Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In today’s IT world, data is growing drastically. However, various companies, having plenty of data in their repository don’t know how to reap the benefits from the residing datasets. As digital technology becomes cult and platforms like IoT and Cloud grow by leaps and bounds, the issues related with data only becomes conspicuous.

EMC’s study on digital universe projected that the data volume is expected to grow 40 per cent per year in the next decade. It was also reported that in the 90 percent of all the data in the world created in the last two years alone. With all these facts around, enterprises are stuck with one question, “How are we going to handle the huge amount of data?”

To address the growing data issue, organizations are adopting data archiving approach. Whether it is for long term data retention or regulatory compliance purposes, data archiving is assisting enterprises in various ways. In addition to this it also helps in reducing the cost of the storage consumption and enhances backup and restore performance. Therefore, many firms today find it challenging to choose an appropriate data archiving approach. This article will walk through some of the best methods used by other firms and help customers to find the right method for their organization.

Using Data Archiving Software

Not all industries want to store the data for a long time. For instance, financial trading industry might not need all the data for a long period whereas healthcare industry has a long term storage requirement since they have to store data of the patient beyond their life. Storing the data without the need may become a burden on the enterprise storage department.

Once enterprises are clear about which data to archive, they can go ahead with data retention. Most of the firms retain data to comply with state and federal regulations, which offers flexibility to retain and eliminate specific information.  

After determining which records to be archive, next step is to look for a prudent way to archive it. One of the common ways of doing it is by leveraging automated data archiving software. Generally, archiving software assists in identifying the specific data from several directories, applications, and various servers. However, this software can also offer capabilities like automatic archiving of expiring data, purging if the data has exceeded the duration according to the policy regulated by storage admin.

Archiving process can be more efficient and cost-effective if archiving functionality is included in the backup software products. However, if there is an archiving requirement then it is wise to leverage archiving software to manage huge data.

Using Backup as Archive

Most of the companies use backup as the archive, especially those firms that don’t need to preserve the data for a long period. One of the reasons why organizations depend on backups instead of using independent archive product is because of effortless data accessibility in the long run and better search content capabilities. Backup-as-archive is best suited for firms that are least concerned about storing and retaining data in primary storage. Enhancements made in backup products' scalability are another reason the backup-as-archive approach achieved legitimacy.

Data Archiving: From Tapes to Disks and Cloud storage

Most of the companies are still leveraging tapes for data archiving purpose, even though disks and cloud storage are well-known data archiving methods. Enterprises often misinterpret data backup with data archiving; data backup refers to data that are accessed regularly for production whereas data archiving refers to data that are not used often and is stored for compliance purpose.

Many organizations end up using tapes because of its cost-effective rates. While choosing the appropriate data archive medium, enterprises must assess how often do they access the information. If the data is constantly accessed then disk would be an apt medium to use, like email archives where employees try to access the repository to get the specific information. While, tapes can be used to archive data that will hardly be used like the financial data stored in a repository that must be saved for compliance issues. There are certain complicated situations where organization should consider both disk and tape medium to store the required data and eliminate the expired data.

Cloud based Archiving

Cloud archiving has gained popularity because of its economical price, data storage and data accessibility feature. Cloud storage can easily scale and eliminate the cost of hardware. For instance, there are several vendors with many offerings that revolve around organizing emails to comply with regulations. Especially, small businesses turn towards cloud email archiving because of huge storage capacity and price point. Enterprises should look for those vendors that meet the requirements and who has potential to offer archiving solution that include features like security, consistency and technical ability. Few companies usually outsource email archiving because there are some archiving vendors who offer audit trial and reports of the email they manage, which will alleviate certain burden from system administrator.