I have great news this month. First, John Ottman, one of the pioneers of the ASP/Cloud industry, has joined Solix. I have known John for some time, back from his Corio days and then as President of Princeton Softech (acquired by IBM).
Second, we just announced Solix Cloud, providing automated on-demand data archiving or applications retirement over the network for enterprise customers. I had been trying to recruit John for some time, and one fine day he said, if we can convert Solix into a cloud company, he would be happy to consider. That seemed like a great opportunity and here we are.
Archiving vs backup
I can best illustrate that with a true story. I won’t name the company, but let’s say they are a fairly large corporation. They are a large Oracle customer, using Oracle’s ERP suite for the last 20 years. They are experiencing huge data growth and having performance issues and called us. For the past two decades each time they upgraded they first made a backup, which they called their archive, and then re-implemented the solution. As a result, they now have more than five application versions. When they need to find a transaction, they have to choose the right version to do the search. Considering the number of application instances they are running, application maintenance costs, potential software licensing issues, and more importantly the lack of business intelligence across their last 20 years of operations, the total cost is mind boggling.
That brings me to the point; many folks are still confused about the differences between archiving and backup. According to Wikipedia definition - a backup or the process of backing up is making copies of (active) data which may be used to restore the original after a data loss . A rchiving is the process of retaining aging (semi-active or inactive) data for purposes other than recovery, such as reducing storage costs or shrinking the backup window. It is often used for records management and compliance to government and industry regulations.
Now the question: Why not use backup as an archive. That’s never a good idea, according to Gartner (“Does Integrated Backup and Archiving Make Sense” by Analysts David Russel and Sheila Childs, pub. 21 March 2012). Basically companies should backup active data that changes over time and that the company will need to restore as quickly as possible to support ongoing business operations if the primary database is damaged or inaccessible for some reason ; or some portion of that data is corrupted or lost to a hardware failure. Inactive data, that is no longer changing or being accessed, should be removed from both the primary database and the nightly backups both to save money, speed normal operations, and decrease backup and recovery times. This data should be archived both for compliance and to preserve historical information about the company as well as for long-term trend analysis.
Archiving/ILM products can effectively identify data that needs to be preserved based on any number of criteria or polices. When data is archived, it is generally moved with context while maintaining application or referential integrity, so that when and if it becomes necessary to find that data in the future, it is relatively easy to do so. Archiving and backup, therefore, are inter-twined as part of a comprehensive data life cycle management strategy, according to Gartner.
So why is Solix delivering the only cloud-based data archiving and retirement service? Archiving is a best practice due to its positive impacts on application performance, DR strategies, application upgrades, backup times, and infrastructure costs. The technology for business-rules-based automated archiving as exemplified by the Solix archiving tool set, is mature. Yet, considering the overall market size, it is still at its infancy with a large number of companies still not implementing archiving despite the advantages it delivers, in part for financial reasons.
So after rigorous work, I am happy to say we put together the Solix C loud offering, providing both archiving and retirement function for enterprise customers. Eureka! We are the only company to offer this. For companies considering archiving but constrained by budget or resources , this is the solution. This might just be what the market needs to expand. Further, this is perhaps a great first step for enterprises considering moving some operations to the cloud. These are exciting times, more to come…