Many users within an enterprise often share data. The data may be modified, appended to or changed in some manner by users who are authorised to access the information. This creates a new version of the information. But, what if the enterprise wants to undo the changes to the data made by a particular user? If it is a change to a single record, it is possible to effect the change manually. If multiple records have been changed, changing them back to the earlier version can be cumbersome, and time consuming. Versioning is the process of saving versions of documents before changes are made to it. If the change is not desirable, the enterprise has to simply restore the previous version of the document.
How many versions of a document can be stored? Any limits pre-set by the service provider will restrict the number of versions of a document that can be created. Users may have the luxury of customising the figures within the limits pre-defined.
What benefits will the organisation derive from versioning? Versioning is really a tool for the management. Apart from being able to track and restore versions of documents, managerial version control enables the management time stamp information, and weed out or archive versions of documents that are no longer relevant to the day-to-day activities of the business. Archiving and deleting releases precious storage space that can be utilised effectively for storage of current business critical documents.
Versioning is also a necessary adjunct to disaster recovery. Managers can quickly and efficiently identify the latest version of the document for restoration in the event of natural or man made disasters, so that the restored system can kick start from the point when disaster struck the digital repositories, and created the outage. Furthermore, document search is simplified if versioning is automated for the storage system.
There are many different types of versioning technologies used by different types of cloud storage providers. We shall discuss more about these different versioning technologies in the next part of this article, Versioning for Cloud Computing — Part II.