The rapid accumulation of data worldwide continues at an unprecedented rate, with most relational databases reaching terabyte size in months. Over a single year, this growth can double or triple, exceeding most companies' expectations, with adverse results. More data means degraded performance and slower response times. More data also limits availability because routine database maintenance requires more processing time, often taking systems out of service. If your company relies on data intensive, mission-critical business applications, unmanaged database growth can have a direct impact on your bottom line as you risk losing customers, frustrating users and missing new revenue opportunities.
Solving the problem of database growth is today's enterprise IT challenge, and no one knows that better than Lisa Cash, president and CEO of Princeton Softech. In the last two years, under her direction, Princeton Softech has become the market leader in providing active archiving technology to solve the problem of database growth for the long term. As with any major problem, the technical community has responded with a variety of solutions ranging from faster processors, increasing capacity and database tuning to storage area networks (SANs), network attached storage (NAS) and hierarchical storage management (HSM), just to mention a few. The traditional approach has been to throw money at the problem by buying more capacity, but today's IT budgets are limited. Each storage solution has its advantages and disadvantages. Some can be more costly than others, but none solve the inherent problem databases continue to grow.
The concept of archiving data is not new, but for years it has been viewed as a less than optimal solution because once archived, the data was next to impossible to find or restore if needed. Complex relational databases added to the challenge because the referential integrity of the data must be retained for the data to be meaningful. There are serious concerns about removing production data that may still be needed or accidentally corrupting the database without an easy way to restore the data. No one wants to risk breaking a database that works, especially when strategic applications are at stake.
Princeton Softech's Active Archive Solutions effectively streamline growing databases by archiving and removing subsets of rarely used relational data or "reference data" from a production database and keeping that data accessible or "active." With Princeton Softech's Relationship Engine technology, active archiving makes it easy to locate specific data in any number of archives and restore it referentially intact and complete. Notes Cash, "These solutions preserve the business context of the data and provide comprehensive capabilities for researching and selectively restoring archived data with 100 percent accuracy, regardless of changes to the data model."
"Active archiving provides a strategic solution to the problem of accelerating database growth that delivers immediate benefits by improving performance and availability and allowing companies to eliminate or defer the costs associated with capacity upgrades. Given current economic conditions, every company is trying to obtain the most value from the environment and infrastructure it already has, and our Active Archive Solutions enable companies to do exactly that." She continues, "In addition, these solutions actually complement and enhance the value proposition of existing storage strategies that can be expanded across an enterprise."
"The fully burdened cost of adding capacity to maintain performance and availability is a huge expense in these infrastructures," says Cash. "The current state of the economy has forced companies to look at more effective ways of doing business. Our Active Archiving Solutions offer a much more cost- effective alternative to increasing hardware."
According to recent studies by leading analysts, the smaller the database the less expensive it is to operate. Giga Group estimates that the cost of open system database operations is approximately $5,000 per gigabyte per year, with enterprise hardware costs (server, storage and networking) at 33 percent, IT staffing costs at 32 percent, enterprise software costs (license fees for database, application and other related software) at 17 percent, and infrastructure costs (telecom, power and floor space) at 18 percent. In mainframe environments, the same logic applies. META Group estimates that the cost per MIP ranges from $7,500 to $10,000 per year. Reducing the volume of data reduces the number of MIPs required, and this net difference represents significant cost savings for any company.
"With active archiving, companies have been able to archive and remove up to 85 percent of their production data in the first archive. This capability frees processing power and allows companies to maximize the utilization of the storage capacity they already have to support more users and more transactions," notes Cash. "When companies implement active archiving across the enterprise, the potential benefits and return on investment increase exponentially."
Removing rarely used data from production databases improves response time for queries, online transaction processing and responding to customer requests. By keeping only frequently accessed operational data in production, database maintenance, backup and reorganization processing take much less time. "For companies that have disaster recovery programs, active archiving on a routine basis can keep databases at optimal size, allowing companies to recover operational data and rebuild alternate databases in significantly less time." Continues Cash, "Active archiving enhances the performance of the relational database in support of our target market the Global 2000."
Princeton Softech has been in the business of solving some of the most complex data management problems for more than 10 years. "Princeton Softech's Relational Tools product suite was our revenue generator during the Y2K years," says Cash, "and today these tools offer proven technology to help companies improve testing throughout the application life cycle." Companies are realizing that it is less expensive to resolve software problems during the development and testing phases. "Although our current focus is on expanding the market share for our Active Archive Solutions, we continue to support and enhance our Relational Tools so companies can reduce costs and improve time to market without sacrificing quality."
However, when enterprise data management and storage problems became a top priority for today's IT executives, Princeton Softech emerged to offer alternative solutions. Lisa Cash has been with the company since 1998. When she became president in March of 2000, she started a company-wide reengineering process. Elaborates Cash, "The reengineering process involved transitioning from a Y2K company, with products for application testing and component-based development, to the active archiving company we are today."
"We made a large investment in our infrastructure, initiated advertising and adopted a completely new selling model along with the investment in active archiving," Cash recalls. "Based on market research and the feedback we received from our customers, there was enough evidence to support a genuine need for our Active Archive Solutions. We restructured our product line to support the archiving and testing tools we have today. This decision was critical to our future, and we created the active archiving market category solely through our efforts. Now, Princeton Softech has this proven technology that everyone the analysts, the industry segments, the business community believes has a huge market potential."
"Princeton Softech offers the only enterprise active archiving solutions, so we are the thought-leader. All the analysts will tell you that. We have thoroughly considered the viability of active archiving both in the short and long term. We have considered what companies will be doing if they archive data for 10 years, and our technology reflects that," notes Cash. "Beyond the product functionality, the fact is that our solutions are designed for longevity and to support active archiving across the enterprise. It doesn't matter what kind of databases you are using. We support interoperability with the leading relational database management systems Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, and Informix and operating systems NT, UNIX or OS/390."
Lisa Cash, President & CEO of Princeton Softech
"Our archiving solutions are robust, and there are no other competitors that really compare." Cash continues, "Because we have such a command of relational databases, we have the only solutions that guarantee the capability to directly access and selectively restore archived data in its business context and still retain the relational integrity assigned to it."
While Princeton Softech has earned a loyal customer following because its software products and services deliver consistent quality, productivity improvements and return on investment, Cash considers the future. "Right now, we have many opportunities in many different areas. Our business plan is in place. We have launched our Active Alliance Partner Programs, and we have our generalized Active Archiving Solutions. The next step in our product development is to develop some customized application- specific archiving solutions for the leading CRM and ERP applications," remarks Cash. "In fact, on May 6, 2002, Princeton Softech released Archive for Servers Clarify Edition, an active archiving solution for Amdocs Clarify ClearSupport."
Princeton Softech Fact Table
Year Founded: 1989
Number of Employees: 183
Net Income: $1M
Number of Customers: 2,000
Number of Licenses: 2,000
"We continue to research different vertical markets to identify the leaders and those with the highest install base. Vertical industries offer a myriad of other active archiving marketing opportunities. For example, any industry that accumulates data and must save that data to satisfy regulations or legal requirements can benefit from active archiving. We can support archiving needs for applications in the insurance, healthcare, utilities, financial, transportation, manufacturing and other industries."
"How do we manage all these opportunities?" Cash explains, "Our management team has periodic planning sessions to set future goals and priorities so we can better determine how to maximize on all these opportunities. What we've done over the past two years is make Princeton Softech scalable. We are ready for the next big growth wave." She confidently continues, "Opportunity is a catalyst for growth, which is good, especially if you can capitalize on it, which we plan to do."
"As we continue to develop and evolve our products," Cash says, "Princeton Softech will move into the storage market and perhaps develop partnerships with some of the big storage vendors either the solution providers or the storage software vendors. There are lots of opportunities for us, both product and partnership-wise. There are a lot of places we can go. The next few years should be very exciting."
"When I interviewed with Princeton Softech," Cash remembers, "I noticed a common quality among everyone a commitment to excellence hence the reason why Princeton Softech has never had a product returned in the 13-year history of our company. This customer loyalty really speaks to the quality of the software, the service and the organization. There is a commitment to excellence, training people well and a high level of work ethic. We are hard working and have a great deal of pride in what we do people really care. The first thing I noticed when I came here is that if you ask someone to do something, it gets done. If you need something, people want to give it to you. It's just an incredible atmosphere."
The Multidimensional Aspects of Lisa Cash
Last book read: The Very Little to my son
Most memorable movie: It's A Wonderful Life
Favorite entertainer: Cary Grant
Most respected politician: George H. Bush
Dream car: Mercedes CL 600
Perfect vacation spot: Paris, France
Most admired individual: Jack Welsh
Best TV show: The West Wing
Favorite sports team: Penn State Nittany Lions
Hobby: Gourmet cooking
Favorite music: Pop
"Can't live without it" food: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
"Can't live without it" beverage: Diet Pepsi
"These values start with all of us on the senior management team and are inherent to everyone at Princeton Softech," divulges Cash. "We are very dedicated to the company, to our products, to doing well, all of those things but we also like to have fun. We're here because we like our jobs and we like the environment. Princeton Softech has a culture where everyone's talents and contributions are very much appreciated."
Admits Cash, "When I started as CEO, I did not think that I would enjoy going out and talking to the press and doing interviews. I would have been fine with being a COO. I liked focusing on strategic direction and resolving problems. Surprisingly, I have come to enjoy that other part of my job because I get to talk to about Princeton Softech and meet people in the industry, and that is very rewarding."
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