Archiving provides a store of data in a central storage device. It also frees up disk space across the network by eliminating duplicate files and allows quick retrieval of data at any point in its lifecycle. This type of device, in which data is stored, is based on whether the data is mission-critical or dated. Archiving also enables the enterprise to provide a level of structure for growing volumes of unstructured data by providing a systematic and automated approach to storing, managing and searching for files, e-mails, instant messages and other applications. In addition, archiving allows the business to define data retention policies for various applications and users, ensuring proper storage of data and its deletion when no longer needed. Archiving also enables users to perform advanced searches, which means e-mails or instant messages can be searched and flagged for legal review during an e-discovery process. Also, it provides organizations with a foundation and framework for rules and policies to prevent data from being deleted or altered, which is critical to processes such as e-discovery and compliance.
IT professionals in businesses of all sizes recognize that the growth of unstructured data is not only going to continue, but is likely to increase dramatically. The expansion of multimedia, messaging, rich media and other data-intensive applications ensures that the challenges created by data growth will have to be addressed immediately and with a long-term solution. From a practical standpoint, IT professionals generally require the following from their storage infrastructure:
- Dedicate the highest performance storage to applications that are most closely associated with company profitability.
- Maximize storage investment by not saving duplicate data and also moving data that is older or deemed less critical to less expensive storage devices.
- Utilize an automated system for identifying and tagging data so that IT staff do not have to manually sort through potentially millions of files, e-mails, texts, etc., extract the data, manually fetch what is valuable and deliver it to the user who has requested it.
Data Backup vs. Data Archiving: What’s the Difference?
Research suggests that data archiving is sometimes confused with data backup. This often stems from assuming that if needed, data backup could be a substitute for data archiving. Keep in mind, there are different objectives for these two data storage technologies.
Data backups are typically used over the short run to restore data that may be lost, corrupted or destroyed due to simple disk failure, a system crash or other reasons. In addition, data backups often copy data to a sequential access recovery medium where multiple copies of the data are typically protected.
On the other hand, archiving is considered as one of the systematic approach to providing structure to unstructured data. It enables the storing, managing, retrieving and eventual discarding of data throughout its lifecycle. Archiving can also be considered as the foundation for e-discovery and a way to help meet compliance regulations.
While the distinction seems clear, be aware that today manufacturers are integrating more functionality into backup software. For example, data deduplication and data lifecycle management with storage tiering — typically associated with archiving — are now part of some backup software packages
Contact your MR2 specialist to learn more about our tiered-base data archiving solutions.