Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Washington Archives Management Goes Virtual

By Wayne Rash

When you run an archiving service, you have two issues that really matter. The first is where to put all that stuff that companies give you to keep for them. The second is how to find it again once it's been stored. Tom Radford, system administrator for Washington Archives Management in Fife, Wash., deals with the second problem every day.

"We service a number of businesses and industries, including health care, legal, and financial services," says Radford. "We do hard-copy records storage. We have two facilities where we store about a half million boxes. We also do imaging."

As a part of the service Washington Archives provides to its customers, Radford must provide a way to track each record stored by every customer. And he does, but it takes up a lot of storage. "Theyre getting an index to their documents. We offer a client-side login on our Web page where our clients view all of their documents," he says. "It's searchable running off of a SQL backend database. They can view contents, descriptions, retention dates, and it's customizable by the user." The index includes the bar codes that identify each record. In addition, there are a few fields they can change themselves.

The indexes fill nearly 1 TB of storage. To help handle the complexity of keeping track of that information, Radford has partnered with consultant Steve Parlee, a senior systems engineer from Moose Logic in Bothell, Wash. Parlee built the Washington Archives storage system, and plays a critical role in keeping it running. "We have two physical boxes and we're running 15 or 16 virtual servers," says Parlee. "If one fails on one server it will automatically restart on another without impacting the day-to-day operations. The servers back each other up in real time."

  • 1