Most companies eventually realize many of their legacy applications or databases are costing them more while providing little value. The main reason companies cite for keeping aging applications and databases active is the potential need to respond to regulatory or legal requests. In reality, legacy application data can be archived and managed separately eliminating the need to keep legacy applications active.
Archive or retire, what’s the difference?
If you want to keep an application active but would like to unload older data to a lower cost platform by archiving to an external archive, third party archives are a great solution. But beware, not all database archives are created equal.
Database archiving is the process of removing selected records (from active databases), and storing them in an archive where they can be managed and retrieved if needed. Database archiving allows the movement of little-used data to a standardized archive, while keeping it available if needed. This practice also has the additional benefit of potentially increasing database performance due to the smaller active data store.
Database retirement is the process of decommissioning (shutting down) an inactive database application - mainly for cost savings. In the past, companies simply kept the obsolete database application running just in case they needed to access the legacy data. Some simply turned off the application and purged data without verifying the data was not under regulatory retention requirements or involved in litigation. Database retirement is, in fact, a one way street in that once retired, it is very difficult to reactivate the application or access the data in a readable format. You shouldn’t decommission a database and purge data without first talking to your legal department and if needed, consider archiving some or all of the data.
Purging versus archiving
Archiving data and purging data are two different processes with two distinct outcomes. Database archiving removes older data (usually) from the active data store and moves it to a separate archive where it is managed. On the other hand, purging data deletes it completely from the system and is irreversible.
Archiving provides several benefits including better database performance and inactive data management based on customizable policies.
The need for long-term storage
In 2007, the SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) Data Forum published the 100 Year Archive Requirements Survey. The survey validated the business and regulatory need for structured and unstructured long-term data retention. In fact, 80% of the survey’s respondents stated they had information that they needed to retain for 50 years or more and 68% said they must retain data for over 100 years.
Data, to support regulatory compliance or litigation, must remain unchanged once it is archived. Archived data must be protected against data modification or conversion. Immutable (WORM) storage should be considered for certain classes of data. The best practice is to first speak with your legal department to determine if any of the application data needs to be retained and for how long.
A secure, robust database archive should be used to retain data in its native format while keeping it available for live database access and use.
Database archiving and decommissioning have become more prevalent over the last several years. Forward-thinking organizations should start planning for this eventually as soon as possible.
Archive2Azure for Databases
Archive360’s Archive2Azure platform allows you to effectively manage your database applications by archiving or retiring them while maintaining compliance and litigation preparedness. For more information on Archive2Azure for Databases, contact us directly or visit the Archive2Azure for Databases webpage and download the Product Brief.