In today's information-intensive organisations, the importance of strategic archiving has intensified to better control exponential data growth and rising infrastructure costs while reducing risks associated with corporate, legal or regulatory compliance. As legal teams and other corporate stakeholders strive to decrease the cost and complexity of responding to the growing volume of eDiscovery and governance requests, archiving has become a critical corporate IT priority. Organisations need to discern the differences between archiving and backups in order to determine the best way to integrate these core functionalities into a cohesive, overall data management structure.
Why Archive When You Have Backups?
The main objective of backups is to create copies of primary data in order to protect it from loss due to hardware failures, user errors or catastrophic events. Performing regular scheduled backups is an essential element of most corporate data protection policies. However, it is important to recognise they are tactically driven and typically short-term focused.
Archiving, on the other hand, is designed to store all data, not just what has been housed on the server at a certain point in time. In most cases, data can be generated from an archive in a fraction of the time and cost it takes to reproduce content from backups alone. Most integrated content archiving solutions encompass e-mail systems, which are becoming a front-and-centre issue for a variety of reasons. According to various surveys conducted by Osterman Research, corporate users spend an average of 152 minutes on a typical workday using e-mail. In fact, the research finds that users send and receive more than 120 e-mails each day, and the majority of the content they need is tied up in email.
In addition to the storage and network implications of dealing with massive volumes of e-mail, the ability to enable proactive legal discovery for messaging environments is driven by archiving, not backup. In fact, the list of reasons to archive both e-mail and data is quite compelling and includes the following:
- Regulatory compliance
- Storage management
- Knowledge management
- Retention lifecycle management
- Disaster recovery and business continuity
Archiving Advancements Optimise Storage & Information Governance
In recent years, advancements in archiving technologies have made it much easier to address the challenges associated with growing volumes of e-mails and file shares. Of particular interest is the policy-driven approach of moving stale and inactive data stored on expensive primary storage to low-cost secondary storage. The addition of compression and deduplication techniques have proven immensely useful in further reducing storage requirements while applying encryption provides an extra measure of security.
In messaging environments, multi-platform support for major e-mail and collaboration systems, such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint as well as IBM Lotus Notes, is key. Equally important is the ability to replace e-mails with self-contained stub files on primary storage, which retain key properties of the original but at a fraction of the storage requirement. E-mail can be automatically moved and archived based on defined policies, either by journaling a copy of every e-mail or capturing it from the user's mailbox based on parameters such as date and/or message size.
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