Storage management vendor BakBone Software has introduced a software-only distributed archiving system.
NetVault: Archive, announced at SNW Europe on Tuesday, is aimed at helping enterprises clear their expensive Tier 1 storage of older, unstructured data while allowing it to remain available and searchable.
"Companies are realising that... data is a business asset that should be brought into business processes. That's what our new product does for companies large and small," BakBone technical director Andy Brewerton said.
Archiving helps reduce costs by helping organisations stay within the limits of their existing hardware and software, IDC analyst Carla Arend said at a BakBone briefing. Consequently, enterprises want to manage storage space more effectively, with the emphasis on emails and other unstructured data.
Arend said the slowest-growing unstructured data category is growing at over 18 percent annually, while the fastest, Word and Excel documents, is growing at over 50 percent.
A next-generation archiving system needs to be distributed but manageable as a single entity, and offer automated, policy-driven data archiving so users do not have to get involved in classifying documents, she added.
NetVault: Archive, BakBone's entry into data archiving, allows IT managers to set up a tiered storage strategy that encompasses policy-based storage automation, according to the company. It also provides search and e-discovery, policy-based storage automation and audit management.
Features include automated policy management to reduce IT and storage management workloads, and indexing to allow users to search across some or all the file data, the benefits of which include increased productivity and lower risk of penalties for non-compliance. The system also offers single-instance storage that removes duplicated files; encryption that allows access to be controlled using role-based policies; and data shredding to defence-industry standards.
The software can also be configured as a clustered grid that allows it to scale up to 20PB, as well as offering better performance and higher availability.
BakBone said the distributed architecture provides "a pay-as-you-grow model to help minimise up-front financial investment", and offers "a self-healing capability for both hardware and software and a distributed file system with single global namespace capable of being distributed across multiple physical locations".
Also on Tuesday, BakBone launched NetVault: Archive for SharePoint, a version of the product for Microsoft SharePoint users. It plans a similar version for Microsoft Exchange later in 2009.
BakBone is entering an increasingly crowded market. According to FreeformDynamics analyst Tony Lock, existing players include Symantec with Enterprise Vault plus services, and EMC with Legato and its CAS storage, along with HP, IBM and Fujitsu.
"There are also many software-only offerings, but few that cover all platforms. The biggest area of use so far has been in Exchange archiving," Lock said. "Some organisations think that the backup tools they use provide some form of archiving capability, but it all really comes down to how you define the word 'archive'."
NetVault: Archive is scheduled for release by the end of this year.