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New Release of Permabit Enterprise Archive Helps Take Future “Domesday” Scenarios off the Table

No one plans for “Domesday” scenarios because the thought is (a) if it does happen, I’ll be gone anyway or (b) if it does happen, hopefully it won’t happen on my watch so I will not be held accountable. But many organizations are unknowingly creating their own Domesday scenarios by selecting archiving products that take them down a path of technology obsolescence. One notable exception to this trend is  with the Enterprise Archive solution which, with today’s  of its new model 4010, demonstrates that archiving solutions and Domesday scenarios do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.
First, what makes today’s announcement about the  model 4010 from Permabit significant? Permabit appropriately promotes the introduction of new Storage Nodes that support larger 1 TB SATA drives and new Access and Storage Nodes that support more powerful Intel Xeon Quad Core processors that combined deliver 50% lower storage costs and 73% reductions in power consumption. But the real story here is that both current and new Permabit customers can immediately take advantage of these hardware advancements so they can advantage of a new “value tier” of storage that effectively costs less than $1 per GB.
Obviously it’s no surprise that customers new to Permabit can immediately realize these benefits but it always seems that existing customers of most solutions are left with a dated product with no easy upgrade path. This is not the case with Enterprise Archive’s architecture.
Because the Enterprise Archive is based on a grid storage architecture, new, higher performing  or higher capacity  can be non-disruptively introduced into an existing Enterprise Archive instance. The customer can intermix multiple generations of Access and/or Storage Nodes such that they function as one logical configuration or, alternatively, customers can replace an aging node (Access or Storage) with a new one.
In this latter case, the customer only needs to add the new storage nodes and designate which existing Storage nodes they want to decommission. The Enterprise Archive automatically incorporates the new Storage nodes into the virtual pool of storage and handles the data migration or re-direction of I/O to the new node in the background while decommissioning the old one. The system is automatically load balanced and continues to perform seamlessly without user interruption.
Permabit’s , Jered Floyd, tells me that since 2004 Permabit customers have leveraged Enterprise Archive’s grid storage architecture to successfully perform upgrades through five (5) generations of hardware. So as new inexpensive, larger capacity or higher performing industry standard hardware components have become available, Permabit’s customers are able to immediately introduce them into their existing Enterprise Archive instance. The model 4010 is merely the latest iteration of the nodes that comprise the Enterprise Archive’s architecture.
But what makes the Permabit Enterprise Archive architecture so desirable to organizations is that it helps to ensure the long term viability of organizations’ most valuable asset: their data.  Organizations often mistakenly adopt the mindset that archiving data is a “set it and forget about it” task. The big problem with this approach is that their data may have a longer life than the technology on which it is stored. In this scenario, organizations will have to deal with the unpleasant, time-consuming and often costly task of migrating their archive data to a next generation of technology. Not so with Permabit.
In an appropriately titled case study about “The  Book”, William the Conqueror in 1085  a book to be written about his conquest of England in 1066. That book has lasted almost a millennium and is still on display and readable at The UK National  in Kew, Richmond, Surrey in England.
Fast forward to 1986 when a modern-day, digital version of The Domesday Book was to celebrate the 900th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s book. This copy of data was stored on optical disk (which represented the “latest” technology in 1986) to guard against obsolescence.
Yet just 15 years later, archivists found it almost impossible to locate technology to read the optical disks on which these files were stored since so few laser disk readers that read those optical disks still existed. It was only after a great deal of work and effort that The UK National Archives were able to recover this relatively small amount of data and store it on the latest technology that existed in 2001, again probably preserving it for only another 15 years before they may have to repeat this whole process again.
Organizations that store their archival data to the Permabit Enterprise Archive largely avoid this type of circumstance from ever occurring. Because the Enterprise Archive is a disk-based archival system, it helps to guarantee that the data will remain readable for years if not decades to come. It does this because as new faster or higher capacity disk drive technology is introduced, the Permabit Enterprise Archive simply adds them to its next generation of Access and Storage Nodes, such as it is doing today in its model 4010. Then existing data is automatically and non-disruptively migrated to these new nodes with latest storage technologies so the possibility of technology obsolescence is mitigated.
Saving money is a major driver behind the selection of archiving systems today but organizations are too often forgetting about the long term ramifications of data archiving. The real cost of archiving is not the up-front cost of the archival storage solution but rather the cost of managing the system and the data it contains in the coming years.
Organizations do not want disruptive and painful changes to their archival storage solution in the coming years like the UK National Archives has experienced. Instead they want safe, predictable growth for their archival storage system that meet their needs now and into the future which is exactly what architectures like the latest model 4010 from Permabit Enterprise Archive delivers to discerning organizations. In the new 4010, Permabit addresses the cost efficiency issue by driving past the$1/GB effective cost for its archive/value tier offering announced today such that the the Enterprise Archive addresses both long term data management concerns as well as upfront concerns about costs.

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