(Note: I have been informed that this week the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has [announced an update] to its [16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising]. As if it were not obvious enough already, I must emphasize that I work for IBM, IBM provides me all the equipment and related documentation that I need for me to blog about IBM solutions, and that I am paid to blog as part of my job description. Both my boss and I agree I am not paid enough, but that is another matter. Beginning December 1, 2009, all positive mentions of IBM products, solutions and services on this blog might be considered a "celebrity endorsement" by the FTC and others under these new guidelines. Negative mentions of IBM products are probably typos.)
At a conference once, a presenter discussing tips and techniques about public speaking told everyone to be aware that everyone in the audience is "tuned into radio station WIIFM" (What's In It For Me). If a member of the audience cannot figure out why the information being presented is relevant to them individually, they may not pay attention for long. Likewise, when it comes to archiving data for long term retention, I think we have many people are tuned into KEFM (the Keep Everything Forever methodology). Two classic articles from Drew Robb on the subject are [Can Data Ever Be Deleted?] and [Experts Question 'Keep Everything' Philosophy].
(Note: For those of my readers who do not live in the US, most radio stations start with the letter "K" if they are on the left half of the country, and "W" if they are on the right half. See Thomas H. White's [Early Radio History] to learn more.)
Contrary to popular belief, IBM would rather have their clients implement a viable archive strategy than just mindlessly buying more disk and tape for a "Keep Everything Forever" methodology. Keeping all information around forever can be a liability, as data that you store can be used against you in a court of law. It can also make it difficult to find the information that you do need, because the sheer volume of information to sort through makes the process more time consuming.
The problem with most archive storage solutions is that they are inflexible, treating all data the same under a common set of rules. The IBM Information Archive is different. You can have up to three separate "collections".
- Each collection can have its own set of policies and rules. You can have a collection that is locked down for compliance with full Non-Erasable, Non-Rewriteable (NENR) enforcement, and another collection that allows full read/write/delete capability.
- Each collection can consist of either files or objects. Unlike other storage devices that force you to convert files into objects, or objects into files for their own benefit.
- IBM Information Archive is scalable enough to support up to a billion of either files or objects per collection.
- Each collection can span storage tiers, even across disk and tape resources.
Object collections are accessed using IBM System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM) application programming interface (API). People who use IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) archive or IBM System Storage DR550 are already familiar with this interface. An object can represent the archived slice of a repository, a set of rows from a database, a collection of emails from an individual mailbox user, etc.
File collections can be used for any type of data you would store on a NAS device. This includes databases, email repositories, static Web pages, seismic data, user documents, spreadsheets, presentations, medical images, photos, videos, and so on.
The IBM Information Archive solution was designed to work with a variety of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software, and is part of the overall IBM Smart Archive strategy.