3 min read

Archive 101: What is Data Archiving, Why is it So Important, and How Do You Archive Effectively?

By Christian Smith on April 3, 2018

As data grows, archiving data has become more important than ever for a robust data management strategy. Yet, effective archive remains elusive for many organizations. Even defining what “archive” means can be difficult because archive commonly refers to backup archives or e-mail archives, not unstructured data management.

So what do we mean by archive, and why is it so important?

What is Archive?

Archiving involves moving data that is no longer frequently accessed off primary systems for long-term retention. Unlike data on primary storage, which needs to be frequently accessed and modified, archived data is retained for long periods of time, and best searched for when needed.

These different use cases of archived data are an opportunity for a solution designed for capacity rather than a primary storage solution designed for performance. Archive solutions are high capacity and resilient, with robust catalogs to allow for easy search and retrieval.

Why is Archiving So Important?

Archiving the right data can not only save your business money, but also add value to your business. Many organizations are hesitant to archive because they are uncertain which data to archive or afraid to archive data that should be left on primary storage.

However, not implementing an effective archive strategy is a missed opportunity, and deciding which data to archive should be a high priority for businesses with massive amounts of unstructured file data. Organizations without an archiving strategy may end up losing inactive data that is actually still valuable, and this is especially costly when recreating data is more expensive than archiving it.

For example, many life sciences organizations do not have an effective archive strategy, or any archive strategy at all, in place. This means that valuable data from old studies is irretrievable or lost, and the cost of recreating that data is immense.

With an effective archive strategy, organizations would be able to easily search for and access old data that continues to add value to the business over time.

Another main benefit of archiving is that organizations can save on expensive primary storage while retaining data important to the business, whether it may need to be accessed in the future or needs to be retained for regulatory compliance.

Archiving also reduces the volume of data on primary storage that needs to be backed up. This improves backup and restore performance while lowering secondary storage costs.

As enterprise datasets explode, freeing up space on primary storage is immensely valuable for constraining costs and datacenter footprint. In addition, archives with search and retrieval capabilities make it much easier to find and access data when it does need to be used.

What Does Effective Archive Look Like?

For modern enterprise data sets comprised of billions of files and petabytes of data, an archive solution must have the following capabilities:

  • Policy-driven workflows surface archive-ready data. Once data ready for archive is identified, administrators can set policies to automatically snapshot, move, verify, and re-export data, streamlining data management.
  • Efficient data movement is needed to move high volumes of data from primary storage to archive and vice versa for fast restore.
  • Search to restore allows administrators to quickly locate and retrieve any file, directory, or system, as well as any past versions.
  • Insights and learning help organizations learn from their data. Some of these insights include user access patterns and activity logging so administrators know how much the historical data is really utilized. Effective archive solutions enable analysis, with the ability to perform compliance analysisall without impacting primary workloads.
  • Internal data protection so that archived data does not need to be separately backed up.
  • Ability to manage access separately from primary storage access permissions.

Next Steps and Additional Resources:

Christian Smith

Written by Christian Smith

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