Data Protection: Adapting To The Sea Change (IV)

Fixed content stored in active archives has different data protection and data retention requirements than active, frequently-changed data.

By implementing Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) and coordinating it with a data protection strategy, enterprises can improve the cost-effectiveness, availability and performance of their storage.

As information in the form of files or records ages, it tends to become fixed data that is unchanging data. That age varies from the time of creation (e.g., a check entered into the system) to a later time (e.g., closing a transaction in an online transaction processing system).

When fixed content data is “distilled” from its active changeable counterparts in an application to an “active archive,” the implications for data protection policies and management are significant.

The traditional backup process is not necessary for fixed content data. A piece of fixed content needs to be replicated after it is captured in an active archive, but no traditional backup process is necessary.

Copying the data to a full backup on a regular basis is an unnecessary use of resources since the correct number of data protection copies is already available.

The second major change is the ability to put in place strong data retention policies. Although data retention policies can be applied to a pool of storage where active changeable data is commingled with fixed content data, data retention management is most effective with a fixed content pool of storage. That is because data retention applies only to fixed content data.

An open transaction cannot be disposed of and cannot be considered (at that stage of its lifecycle) to be compliant data, since all compliant data has to be unchangeable.

The migration of data to an active archive will eventually have a significant impact on the active changeable side of the house as well. There will be less data to back up (and restore if necessary), so the burden on the overloaded backup/restore process will be reduced.

If critical applications need to be remotely mirrored, the disk space for the remote mirror will be reduced. The upper boundary for fixed content could be as high as 80% or more, but even a movement of 20 to 30% of data could very well have a significant payoff.