IBM Puts Data Archiving in the Spotlight

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IBM is opening the doors today to a brand-new Global Archive Solutions Center in Mexico aimed at helping companies develop and build long-term plans for data archival.

Staffed with 30 to 50 experts, the center will provide simulations of real world customer environments and help companies address challenges faced in retaining data. It’s IBM’s 11th global center and the first to focus on a specific technology “pain point” rather than a customer vertical industry or IBM product line.

“We’re focused on archiving, given the massive data growth happening,” said Charlie Andrews, worldwide marketing manager for IBM System Storage.

“This is not just about hardware or software but providing a way to help businesses rationalize the chaos that archived data can bring,” Andrews said.

Big Blue is also sending a clear message that archiving is not data backup and that data backup is not archiving, according to one analyst.

“The center is unique in the fact that it focuses solely on the process of archiving, further segregating it from traditional backup,” Brian Babineau, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), said in an e-mail. “Customers should recognize that archiving is different from backup, and IBM is committed to helping to do just that.”

Another message is that archiving is a fast-growing, revenue-flush market.

According to ESG, organizations will archive more than 200 exabytes of database, files and e-mails in the next five years. A recent ESG study found that archived businesses data could exceed more than 30 petabytes by 2012, or more than 30 million gigabytes.

Worldwide file, database and e-mail archive capacity will each skyrocket at a compound annual growth rate of up to 73 percent, altogether totaling nearly two trillion full filing cabinets of information, according to the research firm.

IBM isn’t the lone storage player seeing dollar signs in data archival. HP rolled out its Medical Archive Solution 3.0, an archiving platform designed for healthcare providers, back in January. U.S. HIPAA regulations require hospitals and clinics to save medical records and images for seven years and pediatric records for at least 25 years.

The need for archiving is being driven in other industries as well by compliance mandates, e-discovery requirements because of FRCP and an overall demand for more efficient storage strategies.

“IBM realizes that these drivers are not just a fad and that organizations need to take a long-term perspective when it comes to archiving critical business information,” Babineau said.

The push to save on energy costs also plays into data archiving. Today’s datacenters are getting short on space and power. IBM said improved archive approaches can bring better efficiency and lower costs through best practices and various data storage approaches, such as cloud computing and virtualization.

The center is housed within IBM’s campus built in Guadalajara in 1927. The region’s growing IT segment provides a highly skilled workforce, according to the vendor.

“The approach of taking data and throwing it to the back of a closet to pile up is long gone,” said Andrews. “Archiving is going to be a significant and relevant topic going forward for every business.”

Article courtesy of

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Judy Mottl
Judy Mottl
Judy Mottl is an experienced technology journalist who has served as a senior editor, reporter, writer, and blogger for InformationWeek, Investors Business Daily, CNET, and Information Security Magazine, as well as other media outlets.

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