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Out with the old and in with the new

by Hu Yoshida on Jan 5, 2009

Like many of you, I spent my Christmas and New Years holidays cleaning out my inbox and organizing my PST files and My Document folders. I’m starting out the New Year with a relatively clean inbox and an organized set of folders for 2009. Let’s see how long that lasts. It’s a lot easier since we implemented email archiving several years ago. When I first came to HDS, I spent a lot of time filing my manuals and documents in cabinets, now it’s all electronic. What little paper that needs filing, like expense receipts, is done by my admin. All this makes me a lot more productive despite the avalanche of data that keeps increasing every year. It also helps me go back and find information when I need to expand or refresh my knowledge base.

This task of archiving my data was relatively easy because of technology like archiving and Sharepoint, and the fact that I am more disciplined about organizing my data as it is being created or received. Consider the challenge I would have had if I waited to the end of the year to archive all my data and I had not organized my data during the year and did not have an established email archive system.

That is the task that is facing the folks at NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). They have just implemented an archiving system for the presidential records of the Bush administration, and they must take over ownership of these records on January 20, 2009. All the records over the past eight years, including items of international importance to menus for state dinners will have to be indexed, ingested, archived, and protected for future generations in a very short period of time. Computerworld has reported that the amount data to be archived is more than 140 TBs, which is 50 times the amount of information that was stored for the Clinton administration.  http://cwflyris.computerworld.com/t/3917750/35672412/153062/2/

For security reasons President Bush did not use email, but even then there is some 20TB of email that will need to be archived. Imagine what this will be with the new Obama administration. Here is a man who ran a successful campaign on social networking. His Blackberry and cell phone were always at hand. While there are still security issues that may force him to give up his Blackberry and cell phone, his administration will be wired to generate a lot more data than ever before. There are some reports that his inauguration ball may be open to the public through the internet. How much of that traffic will need to be stored in the national archives? When the Obama administration leaves office there is certain to be several orders of magnitude more data to store. Hopefully NARA and the preparation by the administration on records retention will make it an easier transition than the one this year.

I feel a great sense of optimism for storage as we open the New Year.  We have a great set of tools and technologies to meet the challenges and opportunities of the coming months.  I wish you all the best as we bring in the new -2009.

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Comments (2 )

Devang on 05 Jan 2009 at 2:19 pm

Mr. Yoshida, you have touched on a very sensitive topic of these days with increasing data management needs. I truly believe as much as enterprise level data is being archived or organized, a lot of issues are seen with personal data archiving. Data (emails and files) can be archived by emailing systems and off the shelve programs these days, but going back and finding that data has been a major task. Even free indexing software like google desktop and live search have failed to deliver on it.

I have spend atleast the past weekend trying to organize all my 2008 data and sure it was a tedious task.

A good blog article…..

Hu Yoshida on 06 Jan 2009 at 4:46 pm

Thanks Devang, its good to know that I am not alone. Usually I associate data with a person, or a project, or event, or a point in time and I try to file it under the category that I would most likely need to retrieve it in the future. When it comes time to retrieve it I have sometimes forgotten which category I filed it under and have had to do some searching before I found the data I was looking for. But having a method for filing that fits my individual way of thinking and having data in electronic form makes this a lot easier.

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