ESG's Jason Buffington discusses the highlights from two new ESG research briefs on long-term data retention.
Hi, I'm Jason Buffington. I'm the Principal Analyst at ESG covering data protection. It's important to know that ESG's data protection coverage is not synonymous with backup. Instead, we look at the spectrum of activities and strategies that include backup, snapshots, replication, and also include availability technologies along with BCDR outcomes, and archival technologies with regulatory compliance and long-term retention outcomes.
This month, ESG published two new ESG research briefs from our 2016 long-term retention research project. Long-term retention drivers and trends discusses what's driving archival strategy today. Yes, regulatory compliance tops the list of reasons to archive data. But nearly as many folks see benefit from removing stagnant data from primary storage. Others recognize how end users are enabled by better access data, since most archival solutions actually have better catalogs and search than even primary storage. Litigation preparedness was also cited, as was improving recovery speed and better backup windows, which come from not having to deal with that stagnant data listed earlier.
I think it's really important to consider, because too many organizations presume that backup is a must-have, but archiving is somehow a nice-to-have. Backup is a must-have, but for most organizations, so is archiving. You know, backup really only has one primary job: provide previous versions because of the inevitability that bad things will happen. Archiving, on the other hand, can benefit several different parts of the org, thereby unlocking far greater ROI to the organization. And from a funding perspective, you could essentially tin-cup or group-fund archiving. Think about that.
The research brief also looked at recognizing the benefits and also identify the challenges by those organizations that are already using archival solutions today. And we looked at the industry and governmental regulation drivers' confidence in successfully handling E-discovery, etc. While one of our briefs covers the "why" archive, the other covers "how." Archival solution characteristics looks at the usage patterns from modern archival solutions among those organizations using them today.
One of my favorite data graphs in the research brief shows the difference between how long people keep most of their data, majority being five years or less, and the maximum length of time that they have to keep some of their data, which is often six years or more. And by the way, that's the way it should be. Very few organizations or industries are mandated to keep everything, and most data is not useful after a few years. Data that does have long-term strategic value or is subject to regulatory mandate should be kept for that extended period, and the rest should be removed from your retention storage as soon as that useful period is over. The trick is knowing the difference, which is based on archival solutions with contextual insight, and not manual processes, which just don't work.
Many of the other data points in this brief look at the performance behaviors of a modern archive solution. How frequently does data go in? How frequently is data retrieved? How large are the retrieved data sets? How old is the retrieved data sets? And here's why that's super important. If I asked an IT architect to build me an archival system, they'd start off with a tape handling platform. If I ask that same architect for a storage system that would ingest data on a daily basis, it would provide data nearly as often, but the provided data was usually less than two years old, is usually quite often under a gig, almost always under 100 gig, that same architect would not automatically say, "Tape." Tape could absolutely do all that, but so could disk. So could some clouds.
We saw that same phenomenon in our 2014 Archive and Backup Convergence research, so we revisited a few of those topics again. And look, I love tape, particularly for long-term retention, and anything regulatory. But it's important that we don't presume that backups go to disk and archives go to tape, because it isn't that simple on either front. And that's the point of this researched review. I'll be following up on these topics later, with some commentary on regulatory compliance, so stay tuned for that. But until then, both briefs are now available on the ESG Interactive Research Portal to all ESG data protection subscribers. I hope you find them useful. I'm Jason Buffington for ESG. Thanks for watching.