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Getting started with database archiving

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Coping with growing databases
As databases grow, the costs associated with keeping more information online could cripple IT. More database licenses, servers and storage capacity will be needed. These capital expenditures don't include the additional human resources that will be required to manage increasing data volumes. And if database data growth wasn't enough, many companies will upgrade their business apps, which will, in turn, increase the need for solutions to reduce the costs and risks associated with lengthy upgrade projects. Compliance with records-retention and information privacy regulations, as well as corporate governance policies, will require more precise management of enterprise data assets. The combination of data growth, regulatory impact and application upgrade cycles makes it imperative for organizations to find a way to manage their databases more efficiently.

At the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), we refer to the process of data classification and management as intelligent information management. The key to intelligent information management is taking action against data after understanding its context. Database archiving, a critical information management task, can help IT move historical data off production systems and out of the critical path of daily processing. The data can be moved to lower cost or immutable storage, preserving it for regulatory or governance purposes.

Database administrators often leave old and unchanging

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data within production databases, so backups are constantly protecting data that hasn't changed. This lengthens backup windows and increases backup media costs. The problem is exacerbated as more new data is created and stored. Backup times continue to lengthen, and recovering these large databases can take hours or even days. As an alternative, IT can split databases, but that introduces greater complexity and additional management costs. Splitting a large database into smaller instances may temporarily reduce backup and recovery times, but it will require new servers, additional database licenses and management resources. If database and storage administrative groups don't address the increasing storage management challenges, they'd better plan on increasing their capital and operating budgets.

This was first published in August 2006

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