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RIM the New IT Rock Stars

by Hu Yoshida on Jun 10, 2006

I had another great conversation with Jon Toigo last Friday about Records Management and active archives. Jon, who is always quick to spot new trends, described RIM, Records and Information Managers, as the new rock stars for IT. After the Enron – Arther Anderson debacle, many IT shops, with help from friendly vendors, adopted the mantra of "keep everything forever", and ILM became a catch phrase. At that time there were some RIMs like Larry Medina who were calling for a saner approach based on a valid records retention policy. Recently a major firm was fined $15 Million for failure to preserve and promptly produce electronic documents required by the SEC. Keeping everything for ever was not the solution. Keeping the right records and being able to produce them in a timely manner was the requirement, and that is the domain of the RIM.

RIM determines what knowledge assets need to be captured, what data is needed to classify information for business and legal use, and how long it needs to be retained. IT needs to manage the storage for that data, so that it is accessible in a timely manner, protected and preserved across generations of storage platforms as required, immutable, and done in a cost efficient manner. Working together they can provide solutions for risk mitigation and compliance, improved productivity in the access to data and information assets, improved customer service and create a compelling competitive advantage.

Unfortunately many storage solutions for records retention were implemented without input from RIM specialists. CAS, Content Addressable Storage, is a such a storage solution. it was designed to lock data into an archive that can only be retrieved through an API by a specific application. The content is hashed and the hash is used as the address. Searches can only be done by the application that deposited that data and the searches are limited to the meta data that the application generated. This solution is focused on storing content, not on accessing it. Records management is focused on accessing the right records in a timely manner. This requires open protocols,a centralized archive that can be searched by file name, file attribute, meta data, and full text scans, with enterprise scalability and availability.

The time is right for an active archive solution that  can leverage a set of common and unified archive services such as centralized search, policy-based retention, authentication and protection. A solution that can be optimized for records management applications, based on the policies define by Records Information Managers.

Stay Tuned.

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Comments (3 )

Pavel Mitskevich on 16 Jun 2006 at 8:06 am

I have requirements from business units to store information unchanged for 15 years. Thus it’s very important to know how to safely migrate data and all retention information to newer software or hardware after 5-10 years. How customers will be able to replace solution completely or partially?

I know it’s not possible to delete LU, which is locked by Data Retention Utility. It’s also not possible to discard LU even storage is reinitialized from scratch (in case when all disks, RAID groups and LUs are OK). Are here any standards, which solution should satisfy providing WORM functionality?

In some cases archiving solutions are advertised as solution to minimize backup size and time. Are here solutions to provide backup of archived information?

Will be encryption, compression and “single copy” functionality available?

Chris M Evans on 04 Jul 2006 at 1:39 pm


I’d suggest with a 15 year lifespan storing data on disk is not appropriate. Firstly the cost over that period will be high – bearing in mind the data will be read-only as you’ve stated it must be retained unchanged. Second, the platform the data is stored on will change – if that is (for example) currently Unix with some Volume Manager product, then that will likely be unreadable after 15 years, so you will be spending a lot of time keeping your data up to date by migrating it to new storage formatted with the latest O/S standards.

So, probably more appropriate is tape; this is easier to refresh and the formats don’t expire as quickly (e.g. simple TAR). Tape is cheap, even if you keep multiple copies – which can be retained easily at multiple locations – think of the cost of multiple storage systems to protect against disaster. Tape can be refreshed more easily too.

Alan Helms on 22 Dec 2006 at 1:42 pm

I’ve heard that Hitachi’s DRU will no longer be updated after the end of 2007. If this is true, is there a replacement product? Is there a migration path forward?

I wonder about the viability of disk storage as well and am embarking on a project to convert MO-based data to disk based storage.

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