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Keep Archives Close at Hand

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Regulatory compliance, coupled with explosive data growth, has placed more urgency on how quickly companies must retrieve archived data. E-mail archiving gets most of the attention, but e-mails aren't the only files in town that need to be locked up safely and accessed on the fly.

"Obviously, the pace of business has changed," says Peter Gerr, research analyst at Enterprise Storage Group (ESG), Milford, MA. "And so too has the value of quick access to information." This information could be video clips or X-rays or simple Word documents such as contracts or proposals. It really depends on which files drive a company's business and how regulators enforce compliance.

"With requirements to archive increasing--and so much more information--the challenge is to make files accessible without getting in the way of work," says Mary Kay Roberto, senior vice president at KVS Inc., a content archiving software provider based in Arlington, TX.

Michael Keithley, CIO at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a literary and talent agency in Beverly Hills, CA, has felt the negative effects of sluggish archiving. Keithley and his staff were spending hours--even days--retrieving audio and video clips for the agency's clients. "It was so time consuming," says Keithley. "We really needed an archiving strategy."

Keithley found a solution that was "nothing short of magic" by combining KVS' Enterprise Vault Archiving Framework with EMC's Centera storage system and its single-instance

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store capabilities. CAA's e-mail and file systems are now archived into the Enterprise Vault Repository, where the data is indexed and found quickly. The files are then stored in their original format on the Centera box.

"Even though CAA is not a public company, and not held to regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, we hold ourselves to stay compliant," says Keithley. But many organizations face stringent NASD and SEC rules on the retention of records. Addamark Technologies Inc., San Francisco, specializes in data management systems that archive log files using a compression technology that saves time and space. Addamark's clients are banks dealing with increasing regulations on how their log data is archived.

Says Adam Frankl, VP of marketing at Addamark: "With your average bank archiving 5GB of log data a day, archiving will soon be as common as paying taxes--you just gotta do it."

ESG's Gerr agrees that rapid access to all sorts of information is becoming an industry standard. "Archiving doesn't mean offline, off site or in a bunker somewhere anymore," says Gerr.

--Shane O'Neill

This was first published in May 2004

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