Poor database archiving leads to increased op risk

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LONDON – According to a new report by Forrester Research, businesses are exposing themselves to increased operational risk and costs due to inadequate database archiving strategies. The report outlines the recent explosion in data retention requirements, which it says existing infrastructure is ill equipped to deal with.

The responses of the 150 senior IT executives questioned by Forrester across the US and UK indicate the volume of enterprise data is growing by 50% a year, driven by a new generation of applications together with a strong demand to retain data for business analytics and trend analysis. Some 75% of the survey respondents state they are now managing 10 or more databases of at least a terabyte. This growth is causing serious performance and storage challenges, says the report.

In the report, Noel Yuhanna, principal analyst Forrester Research, says: “Database archiving often fails to get the attention it needs compared with other critical activities related to production databases and data warehouses.” Highlighting the compliance pressures now being faced, he continues: “An archival system becomes critical when you need to access archived information in response to a legal summons, customer service issue, security investigation or technical issue.”

UK-based archive store specialist Clearpace says the report, which it commissioned, only adds to an increasing body of evidence that shows it is critical IT managers place the same priority on the long-term retention and retrieval of structured data as they do on managing email and document archives.

“The value of archiving grows considerably as it becomes easier to access archived data,” says John Bantleman, chief executive officer of Clearpace. “With legal demands for access growing, conventional approaches to database archiving are increasingly being found lacking. They focus on lifting and shifting inactive data from production databases to improve application performance, without considering how to optimise the way archived data is stored. Get your archiving right and you reduce storage costs and guarantee simple, future-proofed access. Get it wrong and at worst you could face prison.”

This view is supported by Forrester Research’s report, Why database archiving should be part of your DBMS strategy, which says archiving approaches need to advance from simply considering how to select and move data into an archive towards encompassing specialised archive repositories that ensure data integrity, security and availability.

According to Forrester’s survey, the top two drivers of archiving strategies were regulatory compliance and business requirements. Recent domestic and other government regulations are requiring enterprises to store more specific information such as call records for several years, and businesses are increasing their demand for access to historical information. With this in mind, the situation is only set to get worse. Bantleman advocates a new approach. “IT managers need to achieve a balance between the compliance demands for retention and the business demand for economical storage and retrieval,” he says. “Current database management system technology is optimised for transactional processing and data warehouses are optimised for analytics, but both fail to adequately address archiving needs. Worse still, the lines between archive stores and back-up, which have very different drivers and requirements, are all too often blurred.”

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