Plasmon Takes Archiving to a Different Level

Mike Koclanes, chief strategy officer for Plasmon, joined Mike Vizard, Editorial Director for Ziff Davis Enterprise, for a recent Changing Channels podcast. A transcript of that interview follows.

Mike Vizard: What are the opportunities these days around storage as it relates to archiving? Most of the emphasis on storage seems to be about the total volume of storage and the fact that the number of things Im trying to keep track of is growing and I have to, due to regulations, keep track of everything. But what is happening on the archiving side particularly as it relates to compliance and what kind of opportunities does that create for people on the channel?

Koclanes: Well, actually those two issues are related. The storage growth is largely driven by fixed content that is unchanging. But companies, for competitive reasons and for compliance reasons, are feeling compelled to have to keep these digital assets. So much of the storage growth is related to information that is candidate for archiving. Therere also, of course, compliance reasons that people need to retain data for longer and longer periods of time. And that is expanding to a broader and broader set of customers and companies and businesses. Traditionally, people would think, OK, well, I dont really need to worry about compliance unless Im SEC regulated, a Wall Street type firm, banking industry, or maybe in the medical industry with HIPAA compliance and patient records. But the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure passed in December of 2006 and really described the need for being able to have policies and practices in place in how youre going to discover digital records, digital evidence in any civil lawsuit. So now anyone who could be part of a civil lawsuit, which would be virtually any company or individual really, has a responsibility to be able to do electronic discovery of digital evidence.

Vizard: Its kind of a paradox, but as I store more and more of this data, I get larger and larger amounts of data. Dont I exponentially increase my security risks because now theres just so much more data for people to target?

Koclanes: Without a doubt you are exposed to more and more sources and more and more targets of storage that you have in a number of different places of digital content. So it really becomes a priority to come up with some kind of standard practices for some central depositories so that you could be sure you had the security procedures in place. There are a number of practical steps you can take to solve that problem. One of the things that you first must consider is that traditionally in the information technology space, weve stored information in two places. If its digital information, weve kept it on disks. We just keep buying more and more disks. And we back up that disk with tapes. And occasionally we actually dump the stuff and get it off the disk and put in on a tape and somehow put it away. And you secure access on the tape by encrypting it and protecting your keys so that people cant get to that. So, encryption is one methodology you can use. The problem with both of those approaches is your archive approach - theyre both mediums that are magnetically based, are changeable, so they will fade over time. I think weve all tried to watch one of our VHS tapes we recorded of our kids 20 years ago or 10 years ago and are greatly disappointed when we no longer have those videos. Any kind of magnetic medium will not stand a long time-retention period and these archives may need to be kept for the life of a produce, the life of a patient, at least seven to 10 years in many cases for financial records. So you need to find a medium to put this on thats going to be stable. The other secure piece of this is that you need to find a way to ensure that that medium still allows you to do that random discovery. The unique thing about archiving is that you really want the long-term retention, and you really need to do things that most people would think of as back up, right? They want to make a copy to protect themselves, but they need it to last for much longer than a back up and they need to be able to get to it at any time because they dont know when theyre going to have a legal inquiry. Or if its an image of a patient record or a design file, when theres a case that opens up again and they have to go back to those. So they want random access, but they still want longevity. So therere new technologies out there. Plasmon uses one of the best technologies for doing that, which we call our UDO technology, which combine disk and a long-term medium.

Next Page: Archiving appliances.