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Tools for archiving ERP data

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This table lists some of the primary providers of enterprise resource planning (ERP) archiving software. In general, "Dynamic archive tables" are databases with lower access characteristics than their production counterparts. "Static archive files" contain static ERP content. "Document management" refers to the ability to manage and view the archive files, while "Primary" indicates the capability the application is most known for today.

Dynamic archiving
Applimation Inc.'s Informia, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s StorageWorks Reference Information Manager (RIM) for Databases (formerly OuterBay's Application Data Management suite) and Solix Technologies Inc.'s Archivejinni can surgically extract data from a production Oracle database and place it in secondary archive tablespaces (see "Tools for archiving ERP data," this page). These tools understand the database schema and business relevance built into the schema, and then use this information to pull all components of the business transaction from the ERP application. Because data is stored in a structured dynamic format, the archives are sometimes referred to as "live," "active" or "dynamic."

Dynamic archiving can significantly shrink the size of an ERP production app and reduce the storage required for the production tablespace and all secondary copies of the tablespace: DEV, TEST, MAINT, TRAIN and QA. For example, one large manufacturing company recovered approximately 30TB of high-end storage after deploying archiving. The major advantage to archiving data within the same database instance is that the data is still available within a tablespace structure, so the archived data can be queried in the same manner as the production data. When searching the ERP application, data that's more than three years old may come from archive tables, while data that's three minutes old will come from production tables--but it's all transparent to the end user.

Structured dynamic data is stored in archive database tables. In some cases, the archive database tables reside in the same instance as the production database. This reduces the need to access entire tables and tablespaces, which increases application response time. Because the data is older and has less immediate business value, fewer people need access and there's less business impact if the data isn't as readily available.

It's important for the DBA and storage administrator to work together on the design of the archive tablespace. While the DBA will concentrate on separating older and newer data, the storage admin provides physical separation at the LUN level to ensure archive tables can be managed appropriately. For example, if all production ERP data is deployed on Tier-1 disks, the archive ERP data can be on Tier-2 storage. Similarly, if the ERP production data is backed up using a full clone with splits to increase performance, then the archive tablespace might be backed up using a snapshot.

From a storage perspective, the biggest advantage is that a storage administrator can move these less-critical tablespaces to secondary storage. The biggest disadvantage is that dynamic archives are still databases that need to be backed up. While dynamic structure archive tables are very effective at addressing end-user response time issues, they may not fix a shrinking backup window because the tablespace must still be backed up on a regular basis. In addition, dynamic archives aren't typically stored on media that's certified by the government for long-term storage. If that certification is required, you must go one step further and extract your ERP content to a static archive.

This was first published in April 2007

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