IT Managers Slow to Adopt Archiving Solutions

According to a new study a “solid percentage of IT managers don’t understand archiving, so many are failing to do it properly,” enterpriseitplanet.com reports. The study, conducted by BridgeHead Software, a storage management company, says that business compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance and Portability Act (HIPAA), which require that files be stored and accessible for a decade or even longer, is compromised by the failure to understand what archiving really is.

IT managers surveyed in the study responded that they were performing archiving, but 29 percent said they were doing it manually, and 35 percent said they used backup software to archive. “That’s a major tell-tale sign that the

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market has to do some education. People don’t understand the issue,” said BridgeHead vice president Patrick Dowling, according to enterpriseitplanet.com. Backing up data and archiving data are two separate things with different processes and different goals. “Backups simply are not good enough to meet archiving requirements.”

Joe Furmanski, technology architect at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, describes his problem in a byteandswitch.com report. He can archive email just fine on tape. “Getting it back and using it when you need it is the big thing,” he says. Furmanski is considering purchasing IBM CommonStore or Symantec Enterprise Vault this year to archive the Medical Center’s emails.

Dianne McAdam, a senior analyst and partner with Data Mobility Group, a research and consulting firm, agrees that the number of end users who mistakenly use the terms backup and archiving interchangeably is troubling. “It shows there is a danger that many companies have neither the data protection nor the archiving systems in place that they believe they have,” Infostor reports.

MacAdam differentiates between backup and archiving by putting the technologies into three categories: “active archiving software slims down databases by relocating inactive data; backup is the storage of data for purposes of restoring lost or corrupted files; and deep archiving is the long-term storage of files to meet regulatory, compliance, legal or best practice requirements,” the Infostor report says.

One problem for IT management is that archiving tools are offered by only a small number of vendors and they are database-specific, which means purchasers must consider the level of integration with existing systems. Lois Hughes, a senior manager of business applications system for Tektronix, had a database that was growing substantially on a daily basis and slowing down the replication process, according to the Infostor report. In addition, the company operates in 27 countries and needed to maintain data for various periods of time to meet local statutory requirements.

Hughes’ group purchased LiveArchive from OuterBay Technologies, a tool that relocates closed transactions and other infrequently accessed data to an online archive database. Hughes is now able to maintain two years of financial, ERP and human resources data in her production database and offload data to the archive when it is three years old. In addition, OuterBay plans to archive the data in XML format. “We don’t want to be application-dependent when databases get too old,” says Hughes.

Robert Skaljin, IT manager for TD Bank Financial was faced with a rapidly growing PeopleSoft database. “All of our database activities were taking longer and longer to complete. It impacted a number of things, including backups and transaction performance,” the Infostor report says.

Skaljin has begun rollout of Princeton Softech’s Optim product. Like the OuterBay product, Optim applies business rules to govern active, inactive and reference data. “Simply put," Infostor says, “Optim decides when data needs to be available, where it should be stored, how long it should be stored, and who can access the files.” Integration with PeopleSoft was important to Skaljin. “Softech had templates built and certified by PeopleSoft. That cut down on development time,” he said.

Archiving the explosion of email to meet record retention policies in business is proving a major incentive to growth in the archive software business, according to a report by IDC, a global market research firm, in byteandswitch.com. IDC predicts consolidation in the industry and expects companies to prefer insourced vs. outsourced archiving solutions.

But email management and archiving are far from mature, Byte and switch.com report.

“Which means get ready for more surveys highlighting the growth of email archiving revenue and features because there’s still a long way to go.”

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