Money in the Bank, Data in the Archive

By: In: Data Management On: Mar 19, 2012
Money in the Bank, Data in the Archive

I learned a lot from my grandfather growing up. He was a businessman and I always respected how he seemed to know everyone. No matter where we went throughout our city, he would always dole out advice in small sayings, making them easier to remember. I still recall many of them to this day.

One of these sayings was that a business man should always have a little cash in his pocket. My grandfather called it “walking around money.”

 And he was right for the most part. If you have enough for those just-in-case situations, it seems to come in handy. Have too little, however, you may not be able to deal with an emergency. Carry around too much and it seems bulky, flashy or irresponsible, as you will end up spending your cash too quickly.

Even worse, carrying around all your cash only makes for a prime target for muggers and increases the risk that it will be lost.

In organizations today, we need to look at data management in the same way. We need to be able to access the data we need when we need it. But we also need to be able to restore the right amount of information in case of an emergency.

While 40 percent growth in our money would present opportunities, the actual 40 percent growth in our data presents amazing challenges. We have to move the data out of our pockets more quickly and get it to the bank, because the size or number of pockets in our pants may not be enough.

For the rest of the money I don’t need instant access to, I put it in the bank or invest it. The bank will provide me good access and security for my cash and will prevent me from carrying all of my money around town. It would be bulky, unsafe and inefficient. Money doesn’t lose value in the bank, but my access to becomes just a little more limited.

Unfortunately, many organizations today are stuck carrying all their data around in their infrastructure that was only designed for instant access when such a capability is not needed or even desired.

On a practical level, this looks like keeping all your data on disk with its high management costs and lack of portability. What’s more disk still uses power while it’s online. At best, this is inefficient. At the worst, it is down-right dangerous as organizations are exposing their systems to be overburdened and their data to corruption because it’s always online.

Organizations will have to start understanding how much disk based storage they need for backup and recovery and planning an environment where the on-site/online storage (Tiers 1 and 2) can support growth. Then we must go back to thinking like we do with our personal finances, and decide what to put in the bank for the long term.

Think of this type of archiving as taking cash out of your pocket and taking this data out of your tier 1 and 2 systems. Essentially, you’re shifting a high-cost infrastructure into one that better fits the nature of how and when you want to access your data.

The bank or investment institution plays a major role in the long-term security and care of our money. But as the last couple years have taught us, there is risk everywhere with our money and we must scrutinize where to put it in order to get the desired results and to minimize risk.

Long-term data archiving is the same way. You need a strategy that gets your data offline and onto a medium that can last for however long you need. LTO tapes with recent technology advancements are perhaps the best choice. At Iron Mountain, we pride ourselves to protect the bank and make sure data is more secure than anywhere else, as all long term data strategies have uncertainty. We work with our clients to minimize these issues and make sure your long-term data archive strategy pays off for you and that information is available when needed down the road.

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About the author

Chris Turnley

Chris Turnley is the vice president for North America data backup and recovery at Iron Mountain. Prior to Iron Mountain, he has held leadership positions at ImageX Software, Orbital Software and iPolitics.com. Chris is a long-time technology and sales executive who writes and speaks on the transformational power of business and information. He is a graduate of the University of Washington. follow me @IM_ChrisTurnley