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File archiving considerations

Storage architectures are evolving very quickly. It is imperative that users keep abreast of these changes within their environment and carefully consider the potential for storage procurements to adapt to their requirements.

What this means is that the old practice of backups is giving way to new technologies and storage management. Don't try to adapt new tape drives to old libraries just to save a few dollars -- because library hardware is not where the expense lies.

The flow and control of data are the critical activities. A copy of data from mirrored disk arrays is file versioning rather than full backups. Intelligent copying of changed files is changing the playing field for tape devices. Certainly, full backups will continue to exist but they will be augmented by more aggressive use of incremental/differential backups and snapshots.

Besides primary disk usage, more and more data needs to be stored and available to users. Ebusiness, government regulation, CRM, ERP, data mining and content reuse all are becoming factors in the growth of storage. Data protection within the archive adds yet another level of requirements.

Sound archiving techniques can help with or satisfy capacity growth in many of these areas and be used to address some of the backup requirements as well. When looking for an archiving solution, it is not simply an adaptation of a tape solution to a new use. File access times (access to data) become critical and complete archiving solutions, not just new tape drives, are required. All of the necessary elements should be present to provide a completely self-managed, protected and high-capacity data archive.

About the author: Mike Holland is the president of Grau Data, Inc.

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