Growth in data volumes creates backup headaches

Although threats to the security of data within a business and the problems of data loss are serious, a persistent and seemingly insurmountable issue is that of ever increasing data volumes. For businesses that deal in text-based data with relatively small file sizes, this can be reasonably easily controlled. However, for firms such as IMG that require archives large enough to hold enormous image, audio and video files, the problem is both more immediate and prolonged. Mark Connelly, who manages and advises on IMG’s storage strategies, outlined the key issues in a recent interview.

Connelly emphasises that the main issue is not the size or indeed the volume of the files, but rather the methods used to manage these systems. Using multiple tier storage systems does have its advantages, but unless the process is automated, archiving large data volumes can be time consuming and ultimately inefficient.

Interestingly Connelly points out that because IMG is a private company it does not have to adhere to some of the strict data retention and deletion legislation that drives the storage strategies of public companies. This means that security risks are lower, primarily centred on vulnerabilities caused by the potential loss or theft of portable storage media.

The solution to the headaches caused by ever increasing data volumes were found by IMG and by Connelly himself to be simple in principle. An update of the archiving and backup systems to incorporate a unified global Storage Area Network (SAN) as opposed to localised backup for each IMG site laid the foundations. This was performed in conjunction with a systems upgrade, allowing automated archiving of rarely used files, which could quickly be designated for tier one storage if a sudden spike in their usage was identified.

This particular case study is fairly typical of the routes open to larger businesses in dealing with increasing data volumes and multimedia file formats. Of course the flexibility of remote online backup and secure data archiving by a third party is held by many to be more appropriate for smaller operations lacking the resources to dedicate to enterprise-wide in house storage strategies.

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