Imation InfiniVault Takes on Archiving While Taking Out Backups; Interview with Imation Global Marketing Director Bill Schilling Part II

If small and midsized businesses and enterprises think about archiving at all it is generally in the context of “They are not doing it.” Imation wants to change that as it envisions a world – and is offering a technology solution – that enables SMBs and SMEs to centrally store their data, seamlessly archive it and eliminate the need to do backups. In this second part of my interview series with Imation’s Global Marketing Director, Bill Schilling, we discuss how the Imation InfiniVault opens the door for more SMBs and SMEs to achieve these lofty objectives.

Jerome:  The term “Active Archive” is being used more frequently to describe how organizations may archive data. Can you define what this term means and what type of media is most appropriate for it?

Bill:  We at Imation view “Active Archive” storage as a sort of intermediate stage of data storage for the vast quantity of file-based data that does not need the full performance of online storage. However it still requires faster more frequent access than what could be provided by offline traditional tape based storage.

So when we speak of “Active Archive” at Imation and with our customers and when they speak to us about it, we think of solutions that are multi-tiered, multimedia. These solutions combine capacity intensive oriented 7200 RPM SATA hard drives, near line RDX removable drives, and the cloud.

We feel like “Active Archive” is the solution for this deluge of unstructured file based data that takes up a lot of capacity, yet needs to be available in an online state. Now one of the keys that we believe, a key to this multi-tiered active archive storage, is that they are in a position to combine the access time of hard drives with the portability and scalability of tape media, by utilizing removable RDX disk drive cartridges. Having said that, RDX is not the only new media that is available to enable a tiered active archive storage solution.

The newest generation of LTO-5 and LTO-6 tape support LTFS (Linear Tape File System) that enables the LTO media to appear to an archive application software as if it was a randomly accessed hard drive. So there are other active archive solutions that are leveraging this sort of technology as we are with our own products. But we are also using RDX media to do the same.

Jerome:  When you mention LTFS, it still requires that organizations move data to that archival tier of storage which requires archiving software that can classify data and more in between tiers of storage. At Imation, you offer the InfiniVault which provides its own software to handle this data movement and placement.  Can you provide some best use case scenarios for this appliance-based approach to archiving?

Bill:  One of the things that we think about at Imation is that if there is a small business or a midsize enterprise or an SMB  that  has an IT resource, that individual likely has two other job titles, so then the appliance-based approach is the way to go.

They need a plug and play network storage appliance that can be configured, up and running, in less than 30 minutes. You mentioned InfiniVault. InfiniVault’s VaultCenter management software puts a host of powerful features at small businesses’ disposal that you might expect to find in larger, more costly systems.

For example, the InfiniVault VaultCenter software provides a policy-based framework with settings that enable you to set up and customize pools of storage within the appliance. We call these pools “Vaults.

These vaults are set up based upon different requirements like the number of file copies that we want to make within that vault. Policies for the retention period for the files as well as their security, encryption, and disposition method may also be set. There is a variety of settings that can be used to customize the pools or vaults of storage through this browser based interface.

Jerome:  So the InfiniVault VaultCenter software in essence takes over the management of the data at that point?

Bill:    Right. The InfiniVault is essentially a NAS target on the network and operates as if it was a file server serving a variety of clients and applications. The beauty about InfiniVault is that because of this ability to make multiple copies, whether it is to the online tier within InfiniVault or to the nearline tier, the appliance does not need to be backed up.

In Part I of this interview series, we discuss Imation’s evolution over the past 12 – 18 months and how it has positioned itself to be the “Bigger Data” storage solutions provider for small and midsized businesses and enterprises.

In Part III of this interview series, we take a look at the cost of data in today’s Big Data environments and how the Imation InfiniVault enables organizations to take a bite out of Big Data’s Big Costs.

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