File and Email Archiving and its Role in Backup

Data retention periods are getting longer and legal mandates and discovery are being enforced with greater diligence. Consequently, enterprises have no choice but to ensure that their data is available (with all requisite metadata) at all times to all these agencies. Hence, there is a growing concern about backup and archiving.

While many service providers offer data backup options, very few offer archiving facilities. Most often than not, the enterprise has to manually determine whether data backed up is ready for archiving and, additionally, how to move it to other media for safe keeping. The majority of backup service providers will not facilitate the enterprise in these activities, as they do not have the wherewithal to do so.

Although some backup providers offer different tiers of storage to archive backup data; they often do not provide any services for archiving live data. Customers may select two separate providers to provide backup and archiving solutions but this is a very risky approach due to the potential gaps in data protection that can occur. Backup and archiving are completely separate functions, but are entirely reliant on each other.

Let us take a look at some real life examples of how Backup Technology have implemented email archiving and file archiving solutions alongside their backup services.

If we use an example where a customer keeps a backup of all changes to files, databases and emails in the last 90 days, they might then choose an archiving rule that archives (or stubs) large files and email attachments after those 90 days to increase server efficiency and assist with e-discovery.

To summarise:

1. The backup solution protects the live data for 90 days
2. The backup solution is also configured to backup the archiving server so that this can be fully recovered if a failure occurs
3. After 90 days the archiver stubs large files and email attachments and moves them to the archive server where it stores them for 7 years
4. It is essential that the retention rules of the backup solution and the archiver dovetail seamlessly so that no data is lost or compromised.
5. The backup solution should now backup the archive stubs on the live servers to ensure that if a Bare Metal Restore of a server is required then these links are preserved.
6. The retention rules of the backup solution should begin to remove the now archived content from the offsite backup vault after a set number of days
7. Tiered storage in the archiving solution can then be utilised to manage the lifecycle of data over time
8. Most importantly, Disaster Recovery tests should be performed to replicate a total loss of file servers, email servers, the archive solution and also the backup solution.
9. If you can not fully recover your file and email servers including the operating systems, live data less than 90 days old and stubbed files over 90 days old from your archive repository then you have major problems.

As you can hopefully see from the steps above, to co ordinate these actions with two separate service providers would be both difficult and time consuming which could seriously impact your Recovery Time Objectives.

It could also lead to many grey areas of which provider was responsible for each elemement of the recovery process, especially where a backup provider was responsible for recovering an archiving solution that it had not implemented and had little or no knowledge of.

From the customers perspective it is far simpler and more cost effective to purchase a backup and archiving solution from the same provider. Herein lies the challenge, I am yet to find a backup solution that is equally as good at archiving live data, and vice versa.

Therefore as a service provider Backup Technology provide our customers with the market leading Asigra backup solution and the Mimosa File and Email archiving system.

Although these are two completely separate solutions, it is our responsibility to combine our knowledge of our customers networks and requirements, with our expetise in Asigra and Mimosa to deliver a coherent seamless solution

Our Customers

  • ATOS
  • Age UK
  • Alliance Pharma
  • Liverpool Football Club
  • CSC
  • Centrica
  • Citizens Advice
  • City of London
  • Fujitsu
  • Government Offices
  • HCL
  • LK Bennett
  • Lambretta Clothing
  • Leicester City
  • Lloyds Register
  • Logica
  • Meadowvale
  • National Farmers Union
  • Network Rail
  • PKR

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