Data archiving makes sense when primary storage gets filled up with data that is no longer active. Data growth on primary storage – the highest performing storage with the most frequent data protection policies – results in increasing capital and operational costs.
Organizations can save money by moving the inactive data or data with a low probability of access to secondary storage or archive storage. The question is, who owns the decision of what to move?
IT directors and managers I’ve talked to have a mixed response to that question. Some say it is the business unit’s decision, but IT cannot get a response from them about what data can be archived or moved to secondary storage. Others say that IT has the responsibility but does not have the systems or software in place to do the archiving effectively, usually because they lack a budget for this. And a few say it is IT’s responsibility, and they are in the process of archiving data.
Those who archive with the initiative coming from IT say it is important to make the archiving and retrieval seamless from the user standpoint. Seamless means the user can access archived data without needing to know that the data has been archived or moved. It’s acceptable if the retrieval takes a few extra seconds, as long as there are no extra steps (operations) added to the user’s access.
Implementing archives with seamless access and rules-based archiving by IT requires specific system capabilities. These systems must work at the file system (or NAS) level to be able to move data to secondary or archive systems, and then to retrieve that data.
External tiering, or archiving, is highlighted in the Evaluator Group report that can be downloaded here. This is a major tool in the IT repertoire to help control costs and meet expanding capacity demands. The decision-process about archiving needs to be made by IT, but requires the system capabilities to make it a seamless activity for users.