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HP Frees Data From Databases

HP (NYSE:HPQ) has added XML support to its HP Database Archiving software to help customers meet long-term data retention needs.

HP said the use of XML allows data to be stored independent of the application or database it was created on, so data can be preserved without the need to maintain legacy applications and databases.

The change makes Lois Hughes, senior manager for business applications systems at Tektronix, a happy customer.

"This product is exactly what we need," said Hughes. "We've been waiting a couple of years for the XML product."

XML support will save the company in-house development efforts and allow it to retire hundreds of legacy applications, she said.

Tektronix uses three levels of data management: live, a "live archive," and "encapsulated archiving," which the company uses for archiving data from global operations. The company must archive data for seven to 15 years to meet compliance regulations around the globe, automatically killing off data after that time. HP's XML support means the company won't have to keep old applications around to access that data, and will also give the company the ability to meet specific retention requirements.

Kevin O'Malley, Database Archiving product marketing manager for HP Information Management, calls the XML capability the ability to "sunset" applications while keeping the data useful and available for e-discovery, regulatory compliance and other long-term uses.

Other new capabilities include easier module deployment and support for Microsoft SQL Server in addition to expanded support for Oracle. The two comprise 75 percent of the open database systems market and most of the mission-critical market. Oracle customers using partitioning can now use HP Database Archiving to archive complete sets of data spanning both partitioned and non-partitioned tables. Being able to move a whole partition results in greater data integrity, said O'Malley.

Databases comprise only about a quarter of all data and are significantly more active than their unstructured counterparts, so their complexity makes archiving challenging enough that many users put it off until there's a problem, said O'Malley. "When you hit the wall, it becomes a major project," he said.

The state data is in can vary within a database. Transactions can be ongoing for years, so dates are only one piece of the archiving puzzle, and more analysis, rules and policies are required to properly archive the data. HP's goal is to make it easy enough for a domain expert to do, said O'Malley.

Archiving databases also saves on storage costs, he said, moving data off costly tier 1 storage, and XML capabilities make de-duplication possible once the data is in file format and also improve search capabilities and integration with HP's Integrated Archive Platform.

HP Designer module, the visual design environment of HP Database Archiving, allows users to model application transactions, such as purchase orders and sales orders, and to apply business rules and corporate retention policies. Independent software vendors and system integrators can use HP Database Archiving software, including HP Designer and a developer's kit, to build and support integrations with third-party and custom applications.

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