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Data archiving or data protection: Know the differences

Implementing a data archiving plan will not protect your customers' data. Understand the differences and be sure both data archiving and data protection are taken into account.

As a VAR, you must always provide your customer with plans for both data archiving and data protection -- because they are far from one and the same.

A customer may ask: If I migrate data to some form of archival storage, typically tape, can I forego backups or other forms of data protection?


Archiving does not protect data. Archival data is aged and very rarely accessed.

Though some vendors are providing convenient ways to search for and retrieve archived data online (PowerFile, Archivas, EMC/Centera, Permabit, etc.) -- important offerings to help customers address compliance requirements -- data archving still does not equal data protection.

For instance, if your customer's systems were taken down by a virus, they would only be able to recover a very old version of that file, if anything, using their data archiving system.

Their data protection plan must take into consideration the needs of the organization and the individual -- as well as regulatory and legal compliance. It needs to be broad enough to protect data inside the data center, the remote office/branch office (ROBO) and the mobile user.

Keep in mind that different types of data have different value, dependent on how frequently it is accessed.

The archival plan must take into account the length of retention, the value of the data sets, the type of data sets, whether it needs to be encrypted and even if it needs to be destroyed digitally at the end of its life with a certificate of destruction.

The original version of this tip appeared on

About the author: Marc Staimer is president and founder of Dragon Slayer Consulting in Beaverton, Ore. He is widely known as one of the leading storage market analysts in the network storage and storage management industries. His consulting practice of six plus years provides consulting to the end-user and vendor communities.

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