You’ve got way too much mail.

How archiving is helping organizations get email under control.  

 Consider, if you will, these two predicaments.

 Organization A, which is particularly prone to lawsuits, has decided not to keep email backups beyond 30 days.  This decision is based on the knowledge that the number one issues courts are looking for today concerning email retention is for a company to have established policies in place and are actively enforcing them.  Today’s regulatory compliance is focused on security of specific personal information and the retention of specific documents related to people, patients, business transactions, etc. 

 At first glance, this somewhat extreme approach can seem effective at mitigating business risk in today’s litigious business climate.  The theory being that what no longer exists can’t be used against the organization in the future. However, inconvenienced employees needing access to older emails end up forwarding them to personal email accounts or requesting them from customers and vendors.  A decision meant to mitigate risk actually multiplies risk by having potentially confidential company information stored in uncontrolled and unsecure environments.

 Then there’s Organization B, on the opposite end of the spectrum, which can’t decide what to do with its sea of emails and attachments, what to keep or delete, so it hoards everything – a potentially costly and storage-devouring situation.  Not only does this turn out to be unsustainable over the long term it can have dramatic performance impact on a key business critical application.  Should this organization have to [Read more…]

Ding, dong, the tape is dead: new storage systems handle both backup and archive

It was clear when DVDs hit the market back in the 1990s that they offered a richer movie viewing experience than VHS tapes. But for a time, tapes and VCRs were cheaper so we had to wait for the cost of DVD players to come down – and for the word to spread – before the new technology overtook the old.

It’s been a bit more complicated for IT departments to decide whether or when to switch from tapes to disk for their data backup and archiving strategy. Partly because, historically, tapes were higher density and cheaper than disk and because tapes were considered safer against loss, corruption or disaster. But using tapes often also meant dealing with poor recovery times, copying dozens of copies of the same document. Disks for their part got more dense, faster and less expensive. Not to mention that new disks could usually be added through cheap storage arrays or servers, while more tape usually meant a bureaucracy tape infrastructure – more towers, more robots and more tape drives. Still, in the mid-2000s, with all the advances working in disks’ favor, some believed that tape was undergoing a renaissance, pulling away again due to capacity limitations for disk. The result? A cold war truce of sorts between the two technologies – long-term archiving to tape, shorter-term backups to disk. [Read more…]