ESG research estimates that organizations will archive over 57,000 petabytes of e-mails, files and database data over the next 4 years. These digital assets may no longer be needed for current business operations, but are intentionally retained to satisfy records management, litigation support, data management, regulatory compliance or corporate governance requirements. The benefits of archiving range from offloading historical data from production resources, increasing application and associated supporting infrastructure performance to reducing the time it takes for in-house counsel to retrieve electronic evidence in response to a discovery request. However, as more information is archived, additional storage capacity must be deployed, and the management of storage capacity can put a strain on capital and operating budgets.
In order to mitigate and control the amount of data archived, EMC Centera and Symantec Enterprise Vault have both added Single Instance Storage features to their archive solutions. These features have the ability to identify and remove duplicate content. Single Instance Storage (SIS) improves the archive processes by storing one copy of a message or file, while tracking all the attributes and references associated with any duplicate content. Symantec Enterprise Vault and EMC Centera both enable SIS – one at the archiving application layer and another at the physical storage infrastructure layer – minimizing the overlap in product functionality. The benefit for customers is their ability to store less data and improve their control over their asset information. When deployed jointly, EMC Centera and Symantec Enterprise Vault compound Single Instance Storage benefits as customers begin to archive e-mail and unstructured content, which they may find contains several duplicate files, from multiple sources to a central location.
Organizations continue to deploy information archiving solutions to remove fixed content from production infrastructures to alternative, typically lower cost resources. In some instances, organizations archive data in order to improve information sharing, keeping historical information online – albeit on tertiary infrastructure – for a longer period of time. IT may also archive in order to optimize resources that support production systems and streamline data protection operations. By removing older data from primary servers and storage systems, IT staff are able to free up valuable computer power and capacity, allowing application processes to speed up throughput and store recently generated transactions on faster production resources. Furthermore, organizations can improve backup processes by archiving historical data from primary systems only as new data is regularly backed up. This process reduces the time it takes to complete data protection operations.
Archiving projects to improve IT infrastructure performance or retain data online at lower costs can lead to very substantial benefits. In some cases, organizations do not have a choice when storing data for extended periods of time. External influences, most notably an increased focus on corporate governance and records retention regulations, have led to additional archiving implementations as organizations are required to save more electronic data. Financials, human resource documentation, executive e-mail communications and other business files are being incorporated into electronic records management programs at the request of corporate boards. In addition, some regulatory bodies are expanding records management laws to include e-mail and other digital files. To meet record retention regulations and satisfy corporate policies, organizations are utilizing archival solutions to set and enforce retention periods. These solutions enable organizations to keep e-mail, file and database data for a specific time period, which prevents any deletion or modification during the retention period.
As organizations save more information, the data may be subject to an electronic discovery inquiry. ESG estimates that 46% of all organizations have responded to an electronic discovery inquiry with the most common requests pertaining to e-mail. Of those required to respond to an electronic discovery request, 77% had to produce e-mail. Figure One highlights the fact that organizations across all industries may be subject to multiple electronic discovery events.
As a result of electronic discovery events becoming a common occurrence, organizations are implementing more formal electronic records management processes that incorporate legal requirements such as document hold and preservation. Archiving solutions are able to bring aid and support to these processes by retaining certain messages and files. As a result of retaining information for extended periods of time, organizations must leverage features within archive solutions that will help control and manage archived information more efficiently. Single Instance Storage (SIS) can help organizations store less data at the time of archival. The downstream benefits include saving money on storage capacity, reducing the amount of data to be backed up, and proper disposition, as only a single copy of the file exists.
Symantec Enterprise Vault, an e-mail, Instant Message, file system and Microsoft SharePoint archiving solution, has incorporated SIS capabilities within its software. Enterprise Vault customers can archive one copy of a message that may have been sent to several recipients. A reference attribute then connects the e-mail to all the recipients, and remains intact with only one copy of the message being retained. While Enterprise Vault performs Single Instance Storage during the data gathering and preparation process, EMC Centera, an archival storage platform, conducts Single Instance Storage operations as data is being saved onto disk. Many customers have deployed a combination of the Enterprise Vault and EMC Centera services, together maximizing the benefits of archiving data on an online storage system. As the two vendors continue to improve upon their integrated solution, they simultaneously allow their customers to consistently improve upon their own information control through Single Instance Storage capabilities. Symantec Enterprise Vault and EMC Centera have integrated SIS features, giving their customers the ability to retain one copy of a file or e-mail with an archive, reducing storage capacity consumption, expediting backup processes and facilitating proper disposition.
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