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Disk Archiving & Objects

11:00 AM -- The safest prediction for 2009 is that, despite the economic slowdown, the requirement for more capacity in the data center will continue. The challenge is that the economics of continuing to store this data on expensive primary storage will be increasingly painful as the slowdown takes full grip.

Enter archiving -- specifically, disk archiving. Today's disk archive systems like those from Nexsan Technologies Inc. , Permabit Technology Corp. , and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) already overcome many of the limitations and the reasons for the failure of the optical market, as I predicted in my entry, "Why Optical is Dead." They also are the most viable alternative to continuing to store old data on primary storage.

With my apologies to the archive suppliers, disk archives should be a sophisticated digital dumping ground. You want to easily put stuff in it (the dump part) so it is out of the way and forgotten until you need to find it (search). Ideally, it just sits there accepting data and protecting itself. The only interaction is to snap in more storage, which is added automatically.

Disk archives offer ease of access and ease of scalability that makes them very attractive for data centers looking to tighten their belts. However, as users are looking to move up to 80 percent of their data to the archive, disk archives must progress to meet the challenge of the increased storage demand.

Most archives are CAS-based (content-addressable storage) systems. Data is broken down either at a file level or a sub-file level and is "fingerprinted" with a unique ID. As a result, where the data is stored on the CAS is irrelevant. Storing a similar file somewhere else on the CAS will lead the system to develop a pointer to the original data set, but not store the second copy of data.

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