Data 'explosion' is increasing compliance gap

Businesses are exposing themselves to increasing operational risk and costs because of inadequate database archiving strategies, analyst Forrester Research is warning.

Its report, ‘Why Database Archiving Should Be Part of Your DBMS Strategy’, says that an incipient ‘store and forget’ attitude showed by some IT managers could cost their operations millions as demand for access to historical data grows - and business risk increases

The report’s key findings include:

  • 50 per cent annual growth is reported in online transactional data and
  • 27 per cent of enterprises surveyed have 50 or more terabyte production
  • 64 per cent of enterprises surveyed have over half of their databases on
    costly tier 1 storage.
  • 20 per cent of data centre infrastructure spend is to support data

Database archiving often fails to get the attention it needs compared to other critical activities related to production databases and data warehouses, comments report author Forrester principal analyst Forrester Noel Yuhanna.

"An archival system becomes critical when you need to access archived information in response to a legal summons, customer service issue, security investigation, or technical issue,” Yuhanna adds.

The independent researchers questioned 150 senior IT executives evenly split across the US and UK. The responses indicate that the volume of enterprise data is growing at 50 per cent per annum, driven by a new-generation of applications together with a strong demand to retain data for business analytics and trend analysis. Seventy-five per cent of the survey respondents claim that they are now managing 10 or more databases of at least 1Tb – and this growth is causing serious performance and storage challenges.

Typically 85 per cent of production data is comprised of inactive records. With 64 per cent of respondents saying that their enterprises have over half of their databases residing on expensive tier one storage solutions, the costs of holding inactive data in this environment are ‘significant and unnecessary’. Understanding this, many enterprises are identifying and moving inactive data from the production database into traditional archives such as tape storage, XML files, or another database on lower tier storage. With each of these types of archive, little or no emphasis is placed on maintaining long term integrity or usability of the archived data.

Data retrieval times for data stored offsite on tape for example are typically measured in days, if not several weeks. Furthermore the costs of dedicating developer resource to rebuild systems and data structures can outweigh the value that was supposed to be safeguarded by purging the production database.

According to Forrester's survey, the top two drivers of archiving strategies were regulatory compliance and business requirements: this is largely due to national (and supranational) government regulations requiring enterprises to store specific information such as call records for several years, and increasing business demands for access to historical information.

For further information, you can download the full Forrester report.

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