Take a few moments to think about how you will migrate your customer's data from one media to another down the road for technology refresh and replacement or as part of ongoing maintenance to insure data validity. Being able to read archived data in the future will require that the media itself is intact, that a device is available to read the media and software or applications exist to read the retrieved data.
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If data is important enough to archive, then it should be important enough to make a secondary copy. It should go without saying to encrypt your media, and however manage your keys so that you will know how to unlock the data in the future. If your customer archiving opportunity is for long term archive, removable tape or optical may be a good fit with while HDD solutions being better for data that has occasional access.
Consider the available storage interface options, data transfer rates and media access times along with operational and media handling costs when evaluating different archiving solutions. Software compatibility is something else to factor into what storage solutions as a VAR you will want to support including what software your customers currently need to support, and who your other partners are.
As a VAR, if you are not already looking at providing archiving assistance services and technologies to your clients, there are plenty of opportunities moving forward, from archiving software for email, database, document management and unstructured data along with storage systems and solutions to preserve archived data.
Read part one on disk drives for data archiving.
About the author: Greg Schulz is founder and Sr. analyst of the independent storage analyst firm the StorageIO group and author of the book "Resilient Storage Networks" (Elsevier).