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Compliance Third Priority as Archiving Driver, Research Shows

  • October 06 2006, 1:00am EDT
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Regulatory compliance is beaten into third place by data growth and disaster recovery/business continuity, the second annual BridgeHead Software Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) audit shows.

To the question, "Which factors are driving the need for archiving in your organization?," just 53 percent of respondents cite "regulatory compliance," compared to 61 percent for data growth and 66 percent for disaster recovery/business continuity.

Average primary storage data volumes have continued to grow, with 11 percent more respondents reporting volume of more than five terabytes (TB), and a corresponding fall in respondents reporting volumes less than 5TB. At the top end, 60 percent more respondents than in 2005 report primary storage data volumes of more than 15TB - up from 10 to 16 percent of all respondents. It seems likely that the need to deal with such increases explains why "data growth" has been a greater driver for archiving than compliance.

Such results from 2006 bear out predictions from the 2005 research. Then, respondents gave the strong impression that archiving was on their agenda and the benefits in terms of compliance and other regulations were being recognized: 49 percent agreed they would be looking at email archiving over the coming twelve months and 55% at file archiving. In 2006, these figures have risen to 52 percent (up 3 percent) and 67 percent (up 12 percent) respectively. Secondary storage consolidation has been a big loser as an area of interest for the following twelve months, falling from 21 percent in 2005 to just 9 percent in 2006.

The choice of archiving media highlights some interesting statistics. In the U.S., tape shows a new lease of life with 77 percent of 2006 respondents citing its use, up 16 percent from 2005. In the UK, however, tape as an archive medium is used by 72 percent of respondents (down 1 percent from 2005). Disk is a loser, falling from 52 to 48 percent and optical rises 4 percent from 22 to 26 percent.

A virtually universal opinion is that archive data volumes will continue to rise, with almost no one predicting a fall. In 2005, "don't know" was the response of an astonishing 41 percent of respondents, a figure that has now almost halved to 22 percent.

Archiving and backup address different business problems. The purpose of backup is to create copies of the online environment that can be recovered rapidly in the event of failure or data loss. Backup is oriented towards storing and moving large amounts of data and it does not purport to make data in backup savesets immediately available. The purpose of archiving is to provide an alternate, secure place for data that must be kept for long periods of time.

Archiving provides a granular level of management over data that backup does not. Not only can each data entity put in the archive be retained, migrated, and stored according to its own rules, but the archive ensures that the data can be quickly located and restored. Under Bridgehead's Protected Data Lifecycle Management concept, archived data does not need to be backed up routinely because the archive consists of multiple repository copies, some of which can be removed or located offsite alongside backup tapes.

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