TDWI Checklist Report | Active Data Archiving for Big Data, Compliance, and Analytics

May 6, 2014

Data archiving presents various problems in the enterprise today. Many organizations don’t archive at all. Others mistakenly think that mere data backups can serve as archives, whereas tape is actually the final burial place of data, from which it rarely returns. Equally off base, others believe a data warehouse is an archive. Although it’s true that data archiving processes exist today in some organizations, these are rarely formalized or policy driven, such that data is archived in an ad hoc fashion (typically per application or per department) without an enterprise standard or strategy.

Even when an organization makes an honest attempt at an enterprise data archive, the result is usually not trustworthy (because data is easily altered), not auditable (due to poor metadata and documentation), not compliant (due to inadequate usage monitoring or the inability to purge data at specified milestones), and not properly secured (lacking encryption, masking, and security standards). Furthermore, with most existing data archives, it’s hard to get data in with integrity and out with speed because the primary platform is not online, active, and highly available.

Why don’t more organizations invest in formal archiving processes and technical solutions? Most likely it’s their common belief that archives provide little or no return on investment (ROI) because users rarely (if ever) access the archive. Without prominent and frequent usage, a respectable ROI is unlikely.

A data archive can achieve ROI by serving multiple uses and users from an online, active platform. Yes, organizations do need to retain data; that’s not in question. However, archived data is not just insurance for compliance, audit, and legal contingencies. Those are important goals, but a data archive should also be treated as an enterprise asset to be leveraged, typically via analytics. Hence, a data archive can be more than a cost center; it can achieve ROI when it serves multiple uses (archiving, compliance, and analytics of deep historical data sets) and it manages data online for active access at any time by a wide range of users.

Users must start planning today for active data archiving. To help them prepare, this TDWI Checklist report will drill into the desirable attributes, use cases, user best practices, and enabling technologies of active data archiving.

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