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Strategic Info Management: Cleaning Up with MAID



When it comes to data archiving, you would no sooner rely on a hard disk for long-term storage than you would a pair of in-line skates for a cross-country trip. For enterprises, hard disks are a disposable commodity, while large disk arrays are reserved for highly transactional primary storage--when data integrity is more important than saving a few dollars. IT managers invest a lot of time, money and sleepless nights to ensure that the data stored on their large disk systems will survive years or even decades necessary for active mid- to long-term archives.

Strategic Information Management

Tape and optical may still be the best choice for passive or deep archives, but the increasing pressure of regulatory compliance and legal discovery makes a serious case for the advanced search capabilities and fast access of active archiving. MAID (Massive Array of Inactive Disk) storage was introduced in 2002 to reduce the operational costs and improve the long-term reliability of disk-based archives. In essence, MAID takes RAID one step further by introducing power management and enhanced disk monitoring as components of array control.

A MAID system powers down inactive drives, reducing the heat generation and electrical consumption of the overall system. As an added benefit, MAID advocates believe decreasing the run time of the individual disks results in a substantial increase to their life expectancy. This represents real progress in overcoming some of the concerns of archiving on disk, but MAID also adds complexity to low-level array management.

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