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Access "Big archives need big planning"

Published: 19 Oct 2012

Building out an archive requires a lot of planning if you want to be able to manage it as it balloons in size. "One [issue] we've seen get people is retrieval," says Jim Cuff, VP of engineering at Boston-based Iron Mountain, which provides a variety of electronic archiving and vaulting services. Working on the assumption that they're building a low-access archive, "they get caught flat-footed" as it grows and are unable to retrieve data at the rates they can write. Another issue is logistics: How do you procure, power, cool and protect that much disk? Iron Mountain has customers who archive 250GB daily, which at first "sounds like a conventional IT problem," Cuff says. But over, say, seven years, that 250GB per day approaches 650TB. What happens if that 250GB per day becomes 500GB? "You're in a different problem domain quite by accident," notes Cuff. Massive array of idle disks (MAID) storage is one technology that may help the archive cause. In a nutshell, a MAID array spins down disks that aren't being used to reduce wear and tear, lengthen their lives, ... Access >>>

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