Storing and Protecting Data
by Patrick Dowling - BridgeHead Software - Monday, 13 November 2006.
4. Assimilate data for corporate governance – most data – particular end-user data – is not truly under corporate control. A DLM archive should provide index and searching on both attributes and contents to give the organisation the ability to rapidly find the underlying information assets within the archive.

5. Guarantee data authenticity – Keeping data secure in a non-editable, non deletable environment with proof of authenticity via digital hashing algorithms applied upon retrieval.

6. Ensure regulatory compliance – regulated data requires set levels of retention, accessibility, access control, and authentication. If removable media is used (as it often must be to meet certain regulatory requirements), the physical location of media should be managed. Also, regulations often call for retention far beyond the lifetime of the media, requiring a reliable strategy for data migration over time to updated media.

Protected DLM begins with the automated analysis of data structures to identify data that should be copied or repositioned to a secondary storage archive. The data can involve any number of formats and applications from raw, unstructured user files and email to generic databases and specialised applications. Since the automated decision to move data off primary storage may not always be correct, the DLM system must be able to provide accessibility to the data in the event it is wanted. Archiving products usually make this possible at various levels including transparent access via stubbing or placeholders within the file system or database application or alternative access through a specialised interface to the archive repository. Either way, if data that has been repositioned to alternative storage is needed, it should be easy, if not transparent, to bring back.

The Protected DLM model intelligently integrates archiving with the critical functions of backup. The process highlights the distinction between archiving and backup and the need for both technologies to address different business problems. The purpose of backup is to create copies of the online environment that can be recovered rapidly in the event of failure or data loss. Backup is oriented towards storing and moving large amounts of data and it does not purport to make data in backup savesets immediately available. The purpose of archiving is to provide an alternate, secure place for data that must be kept for long periods of time. Archiving provides a granular level of management over data that backup does not. Not only can each data entity put in the archive be retained, migrated, and stored according to its own rules, but the archive ensures that the data can be quickly located and restored. With Protected DLM, archived data does not need to be backed up routinely because the archive consists of multiple repository copies, some of which can be removed or located offsite alongside backup tapes.

The differences between backup and archiving are not stressed here to discredit either approach, but rather to emphasise the importance of both.

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