The emergence of superior nearline storage, in the form of ATA-based hard-drive arrays, has made migration of non-essential data an imperative for IT managers.
The movement of documents and files to nearline storage is not a trivial undertaking, of course. IT managers should investigate SRM (Storage Resource Management) software to locate stale files, and HSM (Hierarchical Storage Management) solutions to migrate data from expensive arrays onto less-expensive storage receptacles such as optical libraries and ATA RAIDs.
One interesting tool that I saw recently was Princeton Softechs Active Archive, which allows IT managers to take stale data (data that hasnt been accessed for a long time) out of databases and archive it on alternative media.
Why is a tool like Active Archive important? Databases and large enterprise-class applications that rely on them, like PeopleSoft, often reside on the most expensive storage available to the IT staff because they need high performance in day-to-day operations. As time goes on and these databases and applications continue to grow, the common response to storage growth is the acquisition of another expensive storage array.
By using a tool like Active Archive, IT managers can cull older data from the database and place it in nearline storage.
Access to nearline data isnt fast, but the cost of ATA RAID units is only a fraction of the cost of Fibre Channel and even SCSI RAIDs, so IT managers can save money with very little effect on end users.
By focusing on resource utilization, instead of resource acquisition, IT managers can learn to get by even during lean budget periods.
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