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There are two main approaches to archiving data: independent architectures for individual applications; or one architecture that consolidates all archives on a single platform.

Data archiving is the vampire of the storage world. It promises to rejuvenate enterprise storage systems by sucking out debris so they can work as well as they did when they were young and not burdened by millions of files. But behind the benefits of archiving, there lurks a hidden detail: Getting archiving to work and the final cost of implementation can be terrifying.

But times are changing, and the benefits of archiving are becoming even more enticing. Once focused solely on the data lifecycle (moving content from expensive disk storage to cheap tape), archiving has transformed into something altogether different. Due to compliance and legal reasons, today's archives are increasingly serving as long-term data storehouses, and many implementations forego the old stub-and-delete hierarchical storage management concept altogether.

Archiving has become an indispensable tool to protect an organization, not just a few pieces of data here and there. Although most archiving efforts start with a single application, demand quickly grows to include multiple data types and diverse systems. The key question is whether you should attempt to expand a single archiving system to include heterogeneous data or employ multiple, single-application archiving

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systems. But there are other ways to build a consolidated archive. You can leverage a single storage platform for multiple archiving systems or employ enterprise search technologies to put a unified face on a diverse set of systems.

This was first published in January 2009

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