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Heard of CommVault? Microsoft have!

Microsoft’s Office product development group had a problem: it was producing a virtually unmanagable amount of data. Daily software builds and the associated documentation resulted in this volume of data. As of early 2010, it was storing 237 terabytes of data; each month, about 15 Tb were added to this. This data was backed up to a host of magnetic and tape libraries. The problem was that it took a great deal of staff time to administer, including a dedicated backup verification person, and yet there was no guarantee that it would work.

Microsoft implemented CommVault’s Simpana 9 solution to address these issues. This solution integrates seamlessly with Windows Server and achieves time and money savings by deduplicating data so only one instance of data is backed up. In this instance, storage was reduced by up to 80%. Its ease of use meant spending less time on checks.

To find out more about Microsoft’s successful use of CommVault’s Simpana 9 data management software, download the case study.

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Categories: Archiving, Email archiving

Data lifecycle Mis-management

There are basically 2 types of case study: one concentrates on what you should do and the other focuses on what you shouldn’t. In terms of News International’s data management behaviour, this is strictly located in the latter. The story as it currently stands is a little vague, but it is reasonable to assume that some of the details will come to light over the coming weeks and months.

It appears that News International had an archive of its emails: a very sensible policy, particularly for an organisation that is at the cutting edge of journalism and may have to justify and evidence its actions at short notice. This counts for nothing unless the data contained within the archive is managed properly.

This seems to be key point in this story. Archiving is of no use from a compliance perspective unless proper data lifecycle management is followed. Data management should be a dynamic process: from the time an email enters the organisation to the point of deletion, it should be carefully managed within a highly visible process. Deletions should occur (if at all) after a number of years as dictated by the compliance and regulatory needs of the industry, not at the whim of an individual.

Do we know for a fact that something dodgy or illegal was going on when someone in News International demanded the mass deletion of emails? Certainly not, but the suspicion of a crime could have been averted by simply following best practice in data lifecycle management. It’s not as though News Int haven’t got enough to worry about at the moment…

Read the current state of affairs from the BBC, here.

Liberate your servers

We are told that archiving duplicated data could free up valuable space on our file servers. But it tends to be a bit vague; and therefore not much help if trying to make a business case, particularly when considering archiving solutions. We have recently added Waterford Technologies to our partners, and they have some great tools to help analyse and diagnose your storage requirements.

The Storage Savings Estimator, is a free downloadable application which can be pointed at file servers and it will estimate how much storage space can be saved. It estimates the storage savings based if Waterford’s File Archiver solution is implemented. This solution uses ‘Smart Stubs’ which are 1K shortcuts to files which are deduplicated and moved to lower cost storage, but the Estimator will give you the information on the current status of your storage.

An additional benefit is the Storage Savings Estimator provides details of the types of files on your servers. This is particularly useful if you have a budding Cecil B DeMille or Jimi Hendrix who is using your servers as a receptacle for the last 30 years of cinema or rock. The Estimator can identify all sorts of file types including .mp3, mp4 and .mpeg; perfect for such an investigation.

This handy application is downloadable here and is ready and waiting to show you how much duplication and extraneous data you have on your file servers and, consequently, how much space can be saved by implementing an archiving solution, such as Waterford Technologies’ File Archiver.

Categories: Archiving

Improper data management is a whisky business

Computer Weekly article, Chivas Brothers use CommVault data deduplication to maximise disc back-up, reports that Chivas Brothers had a major issue with data volumes and, consequently, backups were taking a long time. Storage had reached 90 Tbytes, which was spread across applications including an Oracle-based ERP system and MS Exchange. Clearly: Houston we have a problem.

Chivas surveyed the market and decided to implement the Simpana solution from Domain Technologies’ partner, CommVault. The results, documented in this case study, were impressive.

It was identified that backing up 90Tbytes of data to tape was an arduous and time consuming task so a disc-based solution was the obvious replacement. However, backing up duplicate data onto a disc is a waste of time and expense. This was where the CommVault deduplication stepped up to the plate. And the results were impressive.

Across their network there were reductions of up to 90% of data backed up: this as a result of the deduplication achieved by the CommVault solution. Given this significant reduction, Chivas Brothers now retain 3 months of data on disc. This means that restores now take minutes; a stark contrast to the situation before this where tape-restores could take up to 48 hours.

Nowhere is the CommVault advantage illustrated better than in the messaging arena. Simpana not only takes the strain off mail servers through deduplication, but the granularity of mail restoration means that recovery can happen at the level of Exchange, mailbox; even individual emails!

The replacement of several legacy data management solutions with the one, Simpana, has resulted in reduction in the need for administration. Chivas estimate that this has reduced the admin overhead by 70%: one dedicated person dealing with this rather than several.

Les Gilfillan, Chivas’ network manager, is clearly impressed. He is quoted: CommVault’s deduplication has exceeded our expectations. The savings are remarkable – we didn’t expect it to be this good!”

Chivas provides a good illustration of the benefits that enterprises can achieve from a proper data management strategy with deduplication of data at its core. Leaving the company to concentrate on its core business. Chin chin!

Inaction can have consequences

The Osterman report, Choosing the Right Archiving Solution, details some of the potential consequences of not implementing an email archiving solution.

1. Having to perform e-Discovery on back-up tapes; an arduous and time-consuming process – if you can locate the correct tapes.

2. Having to utilise I.T. resources to locate relevant data. This has the double effect of using expensive staff to perform tasks that could be made so much easier and taking these staff away from their day jobs.

3. Spending unnecessary budget on adding storage to buttress mail servers when the data could be moved to lower cost storage.

4. Being incapable of fulfilling legal or regulatory demands, leaving the company open to expensive lawsuits.

The case for looking at archiving is compelling. There are a range of options which vary in complexity to be considered. Hopefully the precis of this report has been useful.

Categories: Archiving, Email archiving

What is the need for email archiving?

The Osterman Report offers 7 reasons to consider adopting an email archiving solution. They are:
1. legal obligations to preserve data; for example, in an HR dispute;

2. regulatory obligations; being able to access information in a timely fashion if demanded by information authorities;

3. reducing email storage problems; taking email off the mail servers to reduce the load;

4. ability to archive other forms of data; for example, the content of instant messaging conversations;

5. freeing I.T. from email recovery; end users can recover their own messages, allowing I.T. to concentrate on core activities;

6. business intelligence; exploit information held in emails that was previously sitting idle;

7. disaster recovery; an archive can help when disaster strikes to a messaging environment.

If any (or all) of the above apply, it is worth considering how to deal with this. An archiving solution might be an effective and cost- effective solution.

Categories: Archiving, Email archiving

Archiving white paper

This is a very interesting white paper about archiving available for download. It was written by Osterman Research and makes some useful points about what to consider when thinking about implementing an archiving system. It also looks at some of the potential consequences of not archiving.
Over the coming week, we will summarise some of these points.

Categories: Archiving, Email archiving
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